Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Asian Hackberry Aphid pesticide

 This is a guest post about another mandatory pesticiding in Sunnyvale. 
Click HERE to email the author- Jennifer Schmid, MSN, RN, CNL

 I'm not sure how many of you are residents of Sunnyvale, but I received a letter last week from the City of Sunnyvale that they will be going around at least my neighborhood (Lakewood) to drench the soil around Chinese Hackberry trees with an insecticide called Criterion 75 WSP to treat the Asian Hackberry Aphid.

 Has anyone else received this type of letter outside of Sunnyvale?

As with the mosquito fogging in Santa Clara County, according to the University of California Dept. of Agriculture at UCD, this insecticide is highly toxic to bees, lacewings, and ladybugs, all beneficial insects.  In addition, it contributes to outbreaks of spider mites and other pests. It also stays in the soil for years so you can't plant there (which means it also stays toxic to the beneficial insects for years). On top of that, we are in the middle of a drought, and they are asking us to water these trees throughout the summer so that the insecticide stays active!

I would ask anyone who has received this letter, ‹ in fact anyone who cares about the environment and bees ‹ to contact:
Joe Gonsalves, Sunnyvale City Arborist, at EMAIL
Leonard Dunn, Urban Landscape Manager in Sunnyvale at EMAIL
as well as your County Supervisor, click here
and State Representatives, click here.
Let's keep the momentum against mandatory insecticide applications going!

Here are my talking points, based on the research I did.  According to the UC Davis Dept. of Agriculture:

1. Insecticides against the Asian Hackberry Aphid are not warranted to protect the health or survival of the tree.  They are only used when the honeydew excretions from the aphids become intolerable to people.
2. The active ingredient in Criterion, Imidacloprid, is toxic to beneficial bees, lacewings, and ladybugs but contributes to outbreaks of spider mites and other pests.
3. Once you apply Imidacloprid, it stays in the soil for years, may infiltrate groundwater, and remains toxic to beneficial insects and plants.
4. The best time to apply Imidacloprid is late winter to early spring when the leaves flush. There are limited studies showing any efficacy during the summer.
5. Dieback of trees tends to be from overirrigation, not from the aphids. The aphids are NOT harmful to the health of the tree.

If you are a Sunnyvale resident, please ask these questions as well:
1. Is there a way to opt out of the drenching?
2. Who made the decision to treat with the insecticide? (I personally have not been inconvenienced at all by the honeydew the aphids produce.)
3. Who is paying for the drenching?
4. Will we receive a rebate on our water bill to water the trees?
5. Are there any other solutions besides using insecticides?

I simply do not understand this rampant use of insecticides and pesticides, which will ultimately severely restrict our access to nutrient dense foods (especially if we're trying to grow them ourselves!!).

Thanks for listening and for your help.

Jennifer Schmid, MSN, RN, CNL
Oasis Wellness
Santa Clara, CA