Golf Course Management

OCT 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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90 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.14 Nonetheless, the extended residual activity of most neonicotinoids means they have the po - tential to act as persistent environmental con- taminants, sometimes taking years to com- pletely degrade in the soil. Adding systemic activity to this short list of chemical properties means that neonicoti - noids can and will end up in places other than where they were applied. Soil applications will inevitably end up in both the vegetative and reproductive structures of any plants rooted in treated soil. This includes the blooms (in - cluding pollen/nectar) of fowering plants that are particularly attractive to honey bees and other pollinators. Off-target exposure With any insecticide, the risk of off-target exposure is always a concern, and neonic - otinoids are no exception in this regard. Al- though these insecticides are generally less toxic to mammals and fsh (Tables 1, 2), their record against benefcial insects is somewhat of a mixed bag (10), and they are generally very toxic to bees. Aside from the previously mentioned risks, direct contact with and in - gestion of treated or downwind material (that is, drift) represents another potential source of environmental contamination that may be problematic for pollinators. Current labels for most neonicotinoid products clearly warn against treating areas where bees are present or likely to be foraging. In a widely publicized episode last year, a commercial landscape company in Oregon made an off-label application of dinotefu - ran to fowering linden trees, resulting in the death of more than 25,000 bumblebees (Bom - bus species) and a temporary statewide mora- torium on the use of dinotefuran. This serves as a stark reminder of the hazards associated with the careless use of these products and the likely response of state and local authorities under pressure from enraged constituents. It is hoped that the new bee advisory icon strategi - cally located on many neonicotinoid insecti- cide labels will eliminate these kinds of events, but this assumes that applicators actually read the label. We know from personal experience and from their own testimony that not all li - censed pesticide applicators take the time to read the entire product label before applying an insecticide. For many reasons, such as the incident described above, reading the entire label is a necessity. An industry that is anxious to preserve its ability to use its most valuable chemical tools should do everything it can to encourage safe practices among its mem - bers. Pesticide labels do include useful infor- mation, and they refect a signifcant invest- ment in time, effort and expense by registrants and regulators. Granted, more science is necessary before we have a clear picture of the relationship be - tween neonicotinoids and pollinator decline, but the industry might consider a few com - monsense steps in order to minimize the po- tential hazard to bees associated with our use of these insecticides. We are admittedly work - ing ahead of the science here, and some of the following suggestions may seem overly cau - Bees like to forage on white clover in turf as it is usually abundant, it is a good source of nectar and it fowers for a long period in summer.

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