City of Milwaukie Protects Pollinators from Pesticide



Mark Gamba: Mayor of Milwaukie, Oregon, gambam@milwaukieoregon.gov971-404-5274

Aimee Code: Pesticide Program Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation;aimee@xerces.org541 232-9767


City of Milwaukie, Ore., Protects Pollinators from Pesticide

Milwaukie, Ore., joins more than 20 cities across the United States by passing a resolution to protect pollinators from highly toxic insecticides


PORTLAND, Ore., April 20, 2016 — Last night, with a vote of 4 to 1, the City Council of Milwaukie, Oregon, passed a resolution to help protect and restore bees and other pollinators. The resolution will halt the use of neonicotinoids and other like insecticides on public property within city limits. Clackamas County’s integrated pest management plan will mirror the resolution, meaning the suspension of use will extend beyond city limits.

Neonicotinoids, commonly referred to as “neonics,” have caused multiple bee kills in Oregon. Worldwide their use is under scrutiny for their links to pollinator decline. Recognizing that pollinator decline is linked to multiple issues, the resolution also promotes the planting of pollinator-friendly plants on city property.

Mayor Mark Gamba began work on this resolution in August of 2015. Since then he has reached out to the school district, North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District and the broader community to encourage them to also take steps to protect pollinators. “Support for this resolution has been phenomenal,” said Mayor Gamba. “It is incredibly important to protect our pollinators in every way possible.”

Neonics, the most commonly used insecticides worldwide, are long-lived and highly toxic to bees and other beneficial insects. An increasing number of studies demonstrate that the neonic levels that can be found in pollen and nectar can cause severe harm to bee populations. Some of the detrimental effects are very subtle. Most recently, researchers pinpointed how neonics harm the immune system of honey bees, thus making them more susceptible to the diseases carried by the Varroa mite and other parasites.

A recent analysis by the United Nations found that 40% of pollinator species may be at risk of extinction worldwide and that pesticides are a factor in their imperilment. “By curtailing use of highly toxic, long-lived insecticides and promoting habitat for pollinators, Milwaukie’s resolution delivers a one–two punch against a pair of significant threats facing these vitally important insects,” said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society. “With the federal government dragging its feet on dealing with the issue of neonics, this resolution and others like it by cities across the U.S. are doubly important.”

It is easy to enhance your garden to bring in native pollinators. Many of Oregon’s native bees are small, docile, and solitary. Their needs consist of diverse flowers in bloom throughout the growing season, avoidance of pesticides and a few small undisturbed sites—often just a patch of bare ground—for nesting. You can find out how you can help at


For More Information

Bring Back the Pollinators campaign:

Pesticide program information:

Are Neonicotinoids Killing Bees?, a review of the science behind neonicotinoids and bees:

United Nations IPBES pollinator report, Thematic Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production


The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Protecting the Life that Sustains Us

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs worldwide. The Society has the world’s largest pollinator conservation team that works with farmers, land managers, universities, and agencies across the country to advance the science and practice of pollinator conservation. To learn more about the Society’s work, please visit