When Jacob Rodriguez (plaid shirt), a skeptic of the pesticide program, started to get unruly at Monday’s meeting, California Highway Patrol Officer James Richards stepped in.

Paul Wellman

When Jacob Rodriguez (plaid shirt), a skeptic of the pesticide program, started to get unruly at Monday’s meeting, California Highway Patrol Officer James Richards stepped in.

Bees (and Flies) in the Bonnet

Pesticide Spraying on the Way for 500 Goleta Homes

Thursday, April 18, 2013
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Despite the concerns of South Coast beekeepers and organic farmers, state agricultural officials will begin applying pesticide on citrus trees in about 500 Goleta households beginning later this week or as early as next as part of an effort to stem the tide of a fruit fly, the Asian citrus psyllid, which has been ravaging citrus crops from Florida to Brazil. State officials, eager to protect California’s $1.8 billion citrus industry, initiated the action by hosting a multi-agency meet-and-greet session Monday night at the Goleta Valley Community Center with affected residents and members of the public. The acoustics were notably splashy as government officials engaged small clusters of interested parties in a noisy give-and-take. When one critic of the pesticide campaign tried to engage those assembled in a spirited chant, he was led off by an officer with the California Highway Patrol.

The citrus psyllid carries a bacteria that shuts down the root system of citrus trees, causing them and their fruit to starve, wither, and die. No cure exists, and one fly has been trapped in Goleta. Although the fruit flies were found in greater numbers in Santa Barbara ​— ​by Earl Warren Showgrounds and Elings Park ​— ​the treatment campaign will be limited to locales within a quarter mile of the commercial citrus operations in Goleta because of funding limitations. Typically, state ag officials use two chemicals ​— ​applying one to the leaves and another into the soil by the roots ​— ​but in deference to environmental concerns and budgetary shortfalls, they will only be attacking the roots. Beekeepers have expressed concern that the chemicals used are fatal to bees ​— ​and have been linked to sudden colony collapse ​— ​especially when citrus trees are blooming. County assistant ag commissioner Guy Tingos countered that the chemical is lethal to bees only if applied to the leaves, but not to the roots.

Because there’s no sign of the disease yet, residents of affected properties are being given an opportunity to opt out. However, if the disease is found, the application will be mandatory. Fairview Gardens, a well-known organic farm, will be affected, but it will be allowed to use various oils and soaps effective in limiting the spread of the pest instead.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Why is a CHP the chaperon of this type of meeting?
Nice photobomb white shirt guy.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Photobomb? He's the subject of the photo. Read the article (or at least the caption!)

Native1 (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Read the comments, or at least the caption.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 2:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

oh thank you! you know I thought it said skirt, not shirt.....still I ask the question: How many CHPS does it take to keep a beekeeper meeting in order?

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 2:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It looks like the lady in green is trying to show poor officer Richards the door..

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 3:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The CHP were there because this was a State of California event and there were State officials making a presentation.

historypete (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 4:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The ghost of the News & Review must be rolling over in it's grave. Where is the story on the potential waste of money, misuse of resources and denial of constitutional right of speech?

chilango999999 (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2013 at 10:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The story, an excellent one, is in the News-Press, Chilango999999. Agreed, the ghost of the New & Review is stirring, rolling, ghostly fingers in ears, covering eyes.

Bees know no property lines and have no legal rights. It is up to us who value their work to protect them. This use in Goleta of the Bayer beecide Metro 2F is outrageous anytime, but particularly when the trees are in full blossom. Shame on those homeowners for allowing this. Thanks to Todd Bebb and Marc Chytilo for their efforts. Thanks to those brave homeowners saying "no!"

What say our state representatives Williams and Jackson?

at_large (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2013 at 8:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is link on an alternative bee friendly solution.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Did you read the part about how the chemical will only be applied to the roots, not the canopy? Bees feed on flowers, not on roots, so they won't be affected.
Remember that if we don't manage to eradicate the psyllid now, you could kiss organic citrus goodbye forever. I wish they would find the money to treat SB as well as Goleta.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2013 at 2:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you blackpoodles for pointing out that:
some people comment without reading the story;
we'll have zero pesticide free citrus left if we do not treat THE ROOTS;
this is not going to kill the bees.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2013 at 6:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The problem with True Believers, be they members of the Organic Congregation or any other church, is that they are only interested in the facts that confirm their superstitions. Reasoning with them based on scientific evidence is pointless.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2013 at 10:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The pesticide once applied to the root SPREADS TO ALL part of the tree - INCLUDING THE NECTAR AND POLLEN. It would not work to kill pylids if it did not spread to all part of the tree. So therefore bees can ingest it from the nectar, pollen, and even the dew drops that accumulate on the leaves.

lthomason (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2013 at 4:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Please do just an iota of reading about which systemic chemicals are used for this pest. Please do just an iota of reading about the systemic level needed to kill the pest and how the bees are not affected. Please do just an iota of reading about the 100% chance of losing all of the trees in 3 to 5 years. Maybe Goleta can use the denuded orchards to build more houses.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2013 at 7:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The article doesn't identify the chemical by name. Nick, if you give us the name of the chemical CDFA plans to use, we can pull its EPA label and MSDS. That way, we'll be able to decide based on scientific evidence instead of vague fears.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
April 23, 2013 at 10:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First I am deeply offended at the misuse of police to stifle local beekeepers and other members of the community from vociferously protesting the sham meeting the state put on.

The use of neonicotinoid pesticides is insane. Many countries in Europe have banned this class of pesticides. The latest research shows that they do kill bees and other pollinators. And no bees equals no pollination with catastrophic consequences to the food supply.

These pesticides will also undoubtedly simply breed pesticide resistant Asian psyllids. And finally, this is the worst time of the year to spray. The neonicotinoids are systemic and work their way up the trees to the flowers which are drawing in pollinators and beneficial insects and will kill them along with damaging hummingbirds who are consumers of insects.

lbsaltzman (anonymous profile)
April 24, 2013 at 9:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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