‘Cides Always Hurt More Than Their Intended Victims

by Julie Tennis on April 10, 2012

I took this photo at our local big box store. There are hundreds of gallons of pesticides and herbicides for sale right now, and each time I go into the store there are freshly stocked stacks of brilliantly colored boxes and jugs of death.

This used to bother me simply because the stacks are always displayed prominently at the front of the store, and my breathing tubes go into fits of gagging reflex when I pass through the cloud of noxious fumes off-gassing from the products.

Ever since I began a beekeeper and a speaker for the bees these displays have taken on a new level of meaning.

Colony Collapse Disorder was in its height when I first started beekeeping. When I asked my dad (my mentor) about CCD, he explained to me that he believed toxins from the environment were building up in the wax of the hives, poisoning the bees right in their own homes and causing them to leave. While I don’t know if that is technically what is happening, scientists are finally beginning to prove that pesticides are at the root of the problem.

I’m not going to go into the research here, there are a lot of excellent articles already available on the great Web. The point I want to make is this:

All of those hundreds of gallons of herbicides and pesticides are being applied in an area comprising about two counties. And this is just one box store’s worth of product. There’s at least another big box store and many, many small businesses that are also selling these killing chemicals. And that’s just here in my little rural area! Think about the volume moving through metropolitan areas nearby – Olympia, Portland, Vancouver, Seattle. All those chemicals being applied to the environment in which we all live, by people who mostly don’t know what they are doing and who are not regulated in any way. It’s sickening.

To quote Attracting Native Pollinators, “A study in the Puget Sound Basin of Washington found that more pounds of pesticides were applied per acre in urban neighborhoods than on farmland.” And, “Homeowners … have access to a wide and abundant array of pesticides, no regulations on their use or licensing requirements, and almost no opportunities for education about the potential impacts of their spraying.”

I don’t know what the solution is yet. My little pipsqueak voice certainly isn’t going to get Costco to stop selling Roundup, Weed B Gone, Sluggo or Bug Barrier. The only way local businesses are going to stop selling these products is if we, the consumers, stop buying them. They don’t have my business, do they have yours?

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