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Bee-Killing Pesticides Are Vanishing From Shelves

Discussion in 'Nature/Habitat/Garden Corner' started by KTdid, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    Likes Received:
    So, Why Should You Care? Neonicotinoids are fatal to honeybees, wild bees, and other pollinators. The more that nurseries take neonics out of their pesticide arsenal, and garden stores remove the products from their shelves, the safer our backyards can be for these important little animals.

    Last year, Friends of the Earth reported that 51 percent of garden plants purchased at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, and Walmart across 18 cities contained levels of pesticides that could harm or kill bees.

    Since then, big-box garden centers like Home Depot, Lowe's, and Ace Hardware have promised to label pesticide-laden plants for sale in their stores and phase out neonic-containing products from their shelves. As more neonic-free options come out of nurseries, these stores should have more options to buy bee-friendly plants, and make good on their promises.


    That’s the finding in a new report from the nonprofit Friends of the Earth and the Pesticide Research Institute, which surveyed around 100 retail and wholesale growers across the country to get a “snapshot” of how the nursery and greenhouse industry is responding to growing demand for neonic-free plants.

    Plant nurseries across the nation aren’t waiting for federal regulators to move on neonicotinoid pesticides, substances linked to mass die-offs of bees and other important pollinators.

    “What we’re seeing is a shift in policies on how to prevent bug infestations without using bee-harming pesticides,” Finck-Hayes said.

    That’s good news for honeybees, insects that pollinates one-third of our food but that beekeepers are having trouble keeping alive.

    At Peace Tree Farms in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, owner Lloyd Traven learned how to make a no-pesticide regime work by taking his 60,00-square-foot plant nursery organic.

    The classically trained horticulturist says things have changed a lot in 10 years. “When I started out, the mantra was ‘If it moves, kill it,’ ” Traven said. He sprayed everything, including the herb garden, even if no bugs were visible.

    “One day, I was watching buyers come in and check out the basil—first thing they did was pull off a leaf and eat it,” Traven said. “I was like, ‘Oh, God, I know where that’s been,’ and that’s what started it originally—nothing to do with pollinators but about people.”

    RELATED: What’s Missing From Obama’s Plan to Save the Bees

    Traven witnessed firsthand how pesticides became ineffective, leading to the use of potent insecticides and then the rise of pesticide-resistant bugs and diseases.

    The remedies? Clean and inspect seeds, plants, and bulbs before they’re planted. If problems appear, fight pests with pests—letting nature do the dirty work to remove attacks on plants.

    “It’s like Game of Thrones in the greenhouse,” Traven said. “Inevitably, you’re going to have an explosion of aphids or parasites—something—and the knee-jerk reaction is to spray. But then you’re back at square one. There is a battle out there, and you have to be educated on it.”

    Lisa Archer, food and technology director at Friends of the Earth, said the report shows that an industry-wide shift away from bee-harming pesticides is possible if other nurseries and retailers follow the lead of early adopters like Peace Tree Farms.

    “We hope that this report will be a resource for other responsible businesses as they get toxic, bee-harming pesticides out of their plants, off their shelves, and out of the environment as soon as possible,” Archer said.


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