Home Gardening Blog

Read Plant Labels!

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Read Plant Labels!

I was at Home Depot looking through their Garden Center when I noticed this label on their plants. I’ve worked in several garden centers and have never seen this kind of tag. I went home and did some research.

What are Neonicotinoids?  It is a new class of insecticides (used in the past 20 years) chemically related to nicotine. Neonicotinoids act on certain kinds of receptors in the nerve synapse. This is more toxic to invertebrates, like insects, than to mammals, birds and other organisms. Neonicotinoids insecticides are popular because they are a water soluble systemic, apply to soil then the plant takes it up. Seeds of a plant are treated with the chemical, so it is present in all parts of the plant, including the pollen and the nectar. This is becoming an increasing concern to beekeepers and bee researchers in recent years.

Home Depot is requiring all of their suppliers to label any plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids. They are concerned about how this insecticide could affect the pollinator population. Mites, parasites, and exposure to other types of chemicals have been tied to the steep decline of pollinators. A high concentration of neonics are used in ornamental plants and their potential effects on bees is still being studied. Until more conclusive research is done, labeling and reducing the amount of pesticide-treated plants at the box-stores might help make yards a bit safer for bees.

 A good resource for garden pests is the Advice, Tips and Resources  page found in Gardening Help. It has detailed information on all the pests that might decide to visit your garden.

Debbie Kirkpatrick, Kemper Horticulture Assistant

| Categories: Spring | Tags: pesticides, bees | View Count: (5552) | Return
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