Ortho, the insect control product maker, said Tuesday it would begin “to transition away” from using chemicals that are harmful to honeybees and other pollinators, responding to growing pressure from environmental advocates.
The Marysville, Ohio-based company, which is a subsidiary of ScottsMiracle-Gro, will discontinue neonicotinoid-based pesticides for outdoor use. The move follows Lowe's and Home Depot's announcements last year that they will stop selling neonicotinoid-based products in their garden care sections.
Ortho also plans to work with the Pollinator Stewardship Council, an advocacy group that supports beekeepers, to start a customer education program and lobby for the use of label language that clarifies the purchase of non-neonic pesticides.
"This decision comes after careful consideration regarding the range of possible threats to honeybees and other pollinators,” said Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand. “While agencies in the United States are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it’s time for Ortho to move on.”
"We encourage other companies and brands in the consumer pest control category to follow our lead,” he said.
Ortho has previously worked with the Pollinator Stewardship Council to support pollinator habitat, and its new multiyear program will use online channels and social media to "develop homeowner education related to the responsible use of pesticides where pollinators can be found," Ortho said.
“Bees and butterflies are essential to our ecosystem and are increasingly facing a struggle to survive," Michele Colopy, program director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, said in a statement. "We join Ortho in asking other consumer pest-control brands to also transition away from the use of neonics.”