SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner's Office is holding a public meeting at the Santa Maria Library regarding possible spraying of insecticides in the area. Beekeepers in the area plan on voicing their opposition.
Santa Maria Valley Beekeepers Association is at that meeting. From what they tell Central Coast News, their whole colony of bees are in danger if this pesticide is used.
Ronald Gromak walks up to one of the five bee colonies in his backyard. Gromak is the president of the Santa Maria Valley Beekeepers Association. He says the association will voice their concerns at an open forum with the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner's Office regarding two insecticides that may be sprayed throughout the county.
"The pesticides they use are inappropriate for the application," says Gromak.
The insecticides are called Tempo and Merit and they would be used to kill the Asian Citrus Psyllid, an insect that carries a disease that is fatal to citrus trees. The Santa Barbara Assistant Agricultural Commissioner says the insect has been found mostly in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas. But a state order could call for spraying up in the Central Coast.
"The material is toxic to other kinds of insects, so if there are some other insects on the trees when they are sprayed, then those insects will be killed," says Guy Tingos, Assistant Agricultural Commissioner.
But the insecticide could have long term effects.
A bee that goes out and picks up pollen from a plant that's been contaminated by the pesticide can bring that pollen back to the colony. And that pollen could contaminate the food for the larvae.
Gromak expressed concern for the safety of his bees. When asked what would happen if any spraying of the insecticide occurred nearby his house in Santa Maria, Gromak answered bluntly, "they'll die."
The Santa Barbara Assistant Agricultural Commissioner says the insecticides pose no health risk to people.
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