In order to be responsible land stewards here in Wallowa County, I think it is always worthwhile as a community for us to be aware of the impact our farming and land management practices have on the ecosystems we are participate in.

There are numerous hobbyist beekeepers here, as well as a commercial beekeeper who brings about 2,000 honeybee colonies into Wallowa County annually, not to mention the over 100 native bee species that inhabit the prairie, canyons and pollinate crops grown in our valley.

Approximately 1,500 gallons of glyphosate (brand name Roundup) are dispersed into the county to manage weeds annually. Please be aware when applying it, that the enzyme in the chemical that targets the weeds also affects the microbiome in the guts of bees, which can make them more susceptible to disease.

About 1,000 tons of the pesticide sulfoxaflor (Transform WG) also are used here. Be aware that applying this chemical to blooming plants that attract bees can have sublethal effects on pollinators, influencing their foraging ability and their ability to raise young. Imagining a field of bumblebee queens raising their brood with their small waxen honeypots for food in the early spring and being knocked out by an unfortunately timed pesticide application has got to tug at the heartstrings of even the nonsnowflake community members here. Who is more endearing than a bumblebee pollinating alfalfa in bloom?

Pollinators are extremely important, and we rely on them for food so working around them carefully benefits us, too.

Kelly Riggle


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