Gardening friends

“Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides that are used widely on farms, as well as around our homes, schools, and city landscapes. Used to protect against sap-sucking and leaf-chewing insects, neonicotinoids are systemic, which means they are absorbed by the plant tissues and expressed in all parts, including nectar and pollen. Unfortunately, bees, butterflies, and other flower-visiting insects are harmed by the residues. Extremely concerning is the prolific inclusion of these insecticides in home garden products. Home garden products containing neonicotinoids can legally be applied in far greater concentrations in gardens than they can be on farms – sometimes at concentrations as much as 120 times as great which increases the risk to pollinators. As a gardener, you have an unique opportunity to help protect pollinators by avoiding the use of these insecticides, asking your local nursery or garden center if plants have been treated with neonicotinoids, and encouraging your city or park district to use alternatives to neonicotinoids on plants that are visited by bees or are bee-pollinated.”


2 thoughts on “Gardening friends

  1. Thanks for sharing this great info Sara. As an agriculture teacher who produces greenhouse plants, I recognize the challenge to produce healthy plants that meet customer quality criteria but are environmentally friendly to our pollinators. In our school greenhouse we have been able to avoid use of neonicotinoids and other harmful insecticides on our spring crops by following a cultural control that a commercial grower recommended a couple of years ago. We keep the air circulating via fans and vents and the temperatures as low as possible but that keep plants at acceptable growth levels (although it can slow growth and delay flowering). This practice provides unfavorable conditions for most insects and we adjust watering practices to avoid disease growth from overly damp conditions. People with hobby greenhouses or areas in their houses that they can provide conditions like this can try this practice as well. And kudos to all the garden centers and growers able to produce plants without such harmful insecticides!
    Bees help pollinate such things as cucumbers and squash in the home garden as well, so it is wise to protect pollinators. Instead of having a pristine turfgrass lawn last year (I don’t have a homeowner association to answer to) through the use of insecticides, I just let the clover grow. The result was lots of honey bees on the clover…and a generous crop of cucumbers and cantaloupe in my tiny suburban garden. I’d like to think the bees contributed to this!
    Yes, I say save the bees and maybe change (even slightly) our threshold of acceptance of insects and damage in our gardens and couple it with using non-toxic substances that deter the bad bugs but protect the pollinators. Our food supply depends on them.

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