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New York State Restricts Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Approximately a year after the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced the action to protect pollinators, use of neonicotinoid pesticides is restricted beginning Jan. 2023.

Honey bee covered with yellow pollen drink nectar, pollinating orange flower.

January 31, 2023

By Krystal Spickler, program manager, Supply Chain team, UL Solutions 

Effective Jan. 1, 2023, use of neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides is restricted in New York state. This comes a year after the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the reclassification. Early information around the use and potential reduction of neonics was also provided in the DEC’s Pollinator Protection Plan 2020 update. 

Neonics are one of the most widely used insecticides. They are derived from nicotine and are highly water soluble, environmentally persistent, and pass to all structures of plants treated with them. Common applications include agricultural uses but they may also be used on residential yards or gardens, or golf courses. Because of their negative impact on pollinator species, regulatory oversight has been increasing. Neonics are absorbed into plant parts and pollen, after which pollinators like bees ingest them. Exposure can impact behavior or result in nerve overstimulation, paralysis, and death.  

The NY reclassification restricts use of neonic pesticide products containing imidacloprid, acetamiprid, and thiamethoxam. The reclassification does not eliminate use completely but limits availability and application only to trained applicators. The current Pesticide Reporting Law also requires annual reporting to the DEC inclusive of sales figures and information on usage for commercially applied pesticides. Products intended for application to the tree trunks or ground at the base of shrubs and other plants and labeled for “limited directed application” are not subject to the reclassification.

New York Senate also re-introduced the Birds and Bees Protection Act (S1856), which was referred to the Committee for Environmental Conservation on Jan. 17, 2023. 

New York is not the first to take action on the use of neonics. New Jersey passed a law effective Oct. 31, 2023, Maine passed a legislative resolve in 2021, and California’s Governor vetoed a bill last fall. US EPA has risk assessments open for five common neonics, which is estimated to complete in 2024.  They are also banned in Europe and several areas of Canada. 


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