All Creatures Great and Small

Pesticides and the Environment Dept.

This is a letter I wrote to the Sec. of the Environment Dept. in New Mexico about how pesticides are damaging wildlife.  If you have these issues where you live, I suggest you contact your Environmental Supervisors.

Dear Sec. Kenney

This is important and I hope the Environment Dept. can look into this. Horned lizards are protected in NM. So are songbirds that eat insects. This is important because agencies that spray herbicides containing glyphosate in areas where horned lizards live are killing them as glyphosate is very hazardous to lizards. It slows them down and causes them to dehydrate. Equally important is the fact that many people have pest control companies spray pesticides around their homes and if songbirds eat the dead insects, it will compromise their immune system, even causing them not to be able to breed. I know there isn’t much you can do about pesticides or herbicides being used on private property, but they are often used on public property. Here are the laws;

2017 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 17 – Game and Fish and Outdoor Recreation
Article 2 – Hunting and Fishing Regulations

17-2-13. Songbirds; trapping, killing or injuring prohibited.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to shoot, ensnare or trap for the purpose of killing or in any other manner to injure or destroy any songbird, or birds whose principal food consists of insects, comprising all the species and varieties of birds represented by the several families of bluebirds, including the western and mountain bluebirds; also bobolinks, catbirds, chickadees, cuckoos, which includes the chaparral bird or roadrunner (Geococcyx novo mexicanus), flickers, flycatchers, grosbeaks, humming birds, kinglets, martins, meadowlarks, nighthawks or bull bats, nuthatches, orioles, robins, shrikes, swallows, swifts, tanagers, titmice, thrushes, vireos, warblers, waxwings, whipporwills [whippoorwills], woodpeckers, wrens, and all other perching birds which feed entirely or chiefly on insects.”

7-2-15. [Horned toads; killing, selling or shipping from state unlawful.]

“It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully kill or to sell horned toads within the state of New Mexico, or to ship them from the state”.

Nobody is willfully killing horned lizards, but most people aren’t aware of the hazards of Roundup (glyphosate) on the environment. Last year the City of Las Cruces sprayed five acres of land to kill weeds in the city and nobody knows how many horned lizards were killed.   I told the city manager about this law and he was genuinely sorry they did what they did. When I was the IPM Manager for the City of Santa Fe, I didn’t allow Roundup to be used on city property. We used a safe alternative, Avenger, that worked very well. I believe they are probably back using Roundup from what I have been told.

Some rodenticides are very toxic. One toxic rodenticide contains Bromadiolone, which is a second-generation rodenticide. That means it is more toxic than first-generation rodenticides. Bromaliodone is classified as an Extremely Hazardous Substance in the United States as defined in the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (42 U.S.C 11002) and is subject to strict reporting requirements by facilities which produce, store or use it in significant quantities. However, there are many rodenticides with Bromaliodone in it and many of them are sold in stores or online, so anyone can buy it even though the EPA clearly states it should only be used by professionals. Some of the baits are in chunk form and people buy them and then throw them out in the woods or desert to kill coyotes or other “pest” animals. It will kill any animals that eat it and dogs have been killed by it. Rodent baits are designed to be attractive to animals. Bromadiolone can be highly toxic to most mammals and birds. Wildlife may eat these baits directly or they may eat a poisoned animal. Because it can take them several days to die, animals that consume a lethal dose may continue to eat the bait before they die. They also may be more susceptible to capture by predators. Wild mammals, birds and other wildlife that eat poisoned rodents may receive a lethal dose. Accumulation of bromadiolone in the tissues of owls, buzzards, and other raptors in the wild has been well documented. It is not permitted to be thrown out like that. The label clearly states that the bait has to be put in bait stations so only rodents can get it and when you violate the label, you violate the law.

All rodenticides should be more strictly regulated but I realize your department can only focus on environmental issues..

The Pesticide Division of the NMDA does not regulate any of this. I am not sure if they are aware of the laws regarding the protection of birds and horned lizards or the way rodenticides are misused.

As these are environmental issues, can your dept. issue regulations restricting the use of Roundup and other herbicides that contain glyphosate from being used on public land, including city, county and state lands? Also regulate the way pesticides are used on public property so songbirds aren’t endangered and restrict the use of rodenticides containing bromadiolone and other toxic ingredients from being used on public lands. People can do what they want on their own property, but they shouldn’t carelessly or on purpose, use any pesticides on public land. They need to be aware of the hazards to the environment they cause and be held accountable.

Currently I am a columnist and author and I promote non-toxic pest management to protect the environment. You can Google me for more information if you want. I will be happy to work with the Environment Dept. any way I can on these issues. Thank you for your time.


Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund












About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…


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