City council delays vote on pesticide ordinance

City council delays vote on pesticide ordinance

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane City Council pushed back a vote on the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would ban city departments from buying or using insecticides classified as neonicotinoids.

At Monday nights council meeting they announced it was pushed back one week.

Several years ago, the honey bee population in North America, was hit hard by Colony Collapse, a disorder where the bees disappeared. The insecticides were thought to be the cause.

"It is an issue if it is misused," beekeeper Jerry Tate said. "I'll guarantee you that, because it is a potent chemical."

Tate, the owner of Tate's Honey Farm in Spokane has a different idea on what may have caused populations to drop.

He's been dealing with honey bees since the 70's and at one point was the president of the Washington State Beekeepers association.

"We felt that there's some relationship to the Varroa Mite, which is a very serious issue for bee keeping probably the biggest issue," Tate said.

He adds, the tick-like parasite expose the bees to virus and can kill a colony in a matter of days.

"We had chemicals prior to colony collapse and we have chemicals after colony collapse so a relationship there really hasn't been established."

Recent developments in chemical engineering have helped kill off the varroa mite and bring back the bee population.

"Most bee keepers right now, today, would say their bees are probably the best bees we've had in 10 years," Tate said.

Tate says more research needs to be done before bans on neonicotineoids are put in place.