Neonics & Insect Pollinators

INFORMATION REGARDING NEONICOTINOIDS aka NEONICS

January 2017 - UPDATE

 

These notes are not meant to be an exhaustive scientific summary but rather an accumulation of information gathered from reputable industry sources.  The comments contained herein are not for general distribution nor to be copied, reproduced, or otherwise cited as expert.  The purpose of this statement is to share basic information we have gathered to inspire our customers to seek more facts and to be prepared to answer consumer questions about commercial & native bee safety and the possible impact of the neonicotinoid class of pesticides may have on all insect pollinators in the U.S.

An incident occurred a few years ago in Oregon when a grounds maintenance crew accidentally sprayed a neonicotinoid (nee-o-nic-o-tin-oid) pesticide (brand name Safari) on trees that were in full bloom resulting in the death of actively foraging honey bees, bumblebees, lady bugs and other insect pollinators.  The local media ran a story focusing on the chemical application and the national news picked it up which escalated consumer alarm nationwide.  Soon large plant retailers were demanding neonic-free products.  In response, horticultural growers everywhere have attempted to produce clean, marketable plants without neonics.  Our industry is fully engaged in the challenge to balance insect pollinator safety with pest-free yet affordable plant products in conjunction with measures to support and enhance the health of all pollinators from the producer to the eventual gardening consumer.

It is widely agreed that a combination of factors contribute to unhealthy commercial & native bee populations. The physical stress of shipping commercial bees for agricultural use; malnutrition in the native populations due to the loss of forage & habitat; the prevalence of the deadly varroa mite, and the improper use of pesticides are all factors contributing to declining bee health and Colony Collapse Disorder.  Non-neonic products currently available are expensive to use; new pest controls are being developed and will almost certainly be even more costly.  While all measures necessary to “save the bees” are of utmost importance, the higher cost for pest control will eventually impact horticultural product pricing; further, the impact on traditional agriculture will likewise be reflected in higher produce prices at the supermarket in the future.                                                                                                                       

REDBUD LANE NURSERY & NEONICS

Our objective has always been to predict and prevent greenhouse pest problems to reduce the use of any pesticides.  We utilize stringent sanitation and healthy plant production practices including Integrated Pest Management (aka IPM) to mitigate issues and to develop strong plants that can better defend against diseases & pests.  IPM focuses on pest prevention through rigorous inspections to identify pests of concern, constant monitoring of pest populations both in and outside the greenhouse environment, and to maintain detailed records of any methods used. 

Should pest populations approach unacceptable levels, a stepped approach to control is used, relying on less impactful products first such as biologicals, insecticidal soap, and horticultural oils.  If a neonic product is warranted, it is applied in a conservative, properly measured dose in a closed greenhouse environment to reduce or eliminate the incidental broadcast of the product.

We continue to support the efforts of scientific research into this issue and will always share facts as we learn them because accurate, current information is the first defensive line to secure pollinator health.

 

HOW RETAILERS CAN HELP GARDENING CONSUMERS:

 

  • BECOME KNOWLEDGEABLE ON THE SUBJECT so consumer questions can be answered with confidence & authority;

  • SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED from reliable sources;

  • BE “NEONIC” AWARE OF THE CHEMICAL PRODUCTS YOU SELL – the top 3 are imidacloprid (brand name Marathon) dinotefuran (brand name Safari) and acetamiprid (often found in fire ant bait products)

  • SUPPORT INDUSTRY EFFORTS to develop factual, unbiased information with a legitimate scientific basis.

  • DIRECT CONSUMER FOCUS TO THE HEALTH OF ALL POLLINATORS, because it is a BIG-PICTURE pollinator issue, not just a commercial honey bee issue.

  • BECOME FAMILIAR WITH POLLINATOR FRIENDLY PLANTS and post a list of these plants in your garden center and on your website and social media.

  • SHARE WAYS HOME GARDENERS CAN SUPPORT POLLINATOR HEALTH; great information found on websites like millionpollinatorgardens.com and grow-wise-bee-smart.com.

 

5 THINGS GARDENERS CAN DO TO REDUCE THE STRESS ON INSECT POLLINATORS:

 

  • PLANT FLOWERS THAT ARE BEE AND POLLINATOR FRIENDLY TO INCREASE NATURAL FORAGING  OPPORTUNITIES AND HEALTHY HABITAT FOR NATIVE BEES & POLLINATORS;

  • PROVIDE A SOURCE OF CLEAN, FRESH WATER;

  • BE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE CHEMICALS USED IN THE HOME GARDEN;

  • ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND METICULOUSLY FOLLOW DIRECTIONS FOR ANY AND ALL PESTICIDE APPLICATION; 

  • NEVER, EVER APPLY ANY PESTICIDES WHEN POLLINATORS ARE PRESENT.

 

phone: (770) 345-5581            fax: (770) 345-7946