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Could neonics on retail nursery stock be to blame?

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Study suggests homeowners partially to blame for bee deaths after 54 percent of sampled retail nursery stock found with neonicotinoid residues.

If there was one ray of sunshine from a recent regulatory convention I attended it was that regulators seem to understand twisting farmers under their collective thumbs may not be having the achieved effect when it comes to certain pesticide issues.

Take for instance all the talk about neonicotinoids and pollinators. While not conclusive, indications are that this new class of insecticide is having a detrimental impact on pollinators.

A story published in a large Central California newspaper should gain some attention as it reports a study suggesting that the residue of neonicotinoids can be found quite readily on the plants and in the potting soil of popular items sold by top retailers. In other words, farmers may not be solely responsible for bee colony collapse. The fault may lie with John and Suzie Q Homeowner.

Information published by the Pesticide Research Institute (PRI) suggests that neonicotinoid residues were detected in seven out of thirteen samples (54 percent) of commercial nursery plants.

According to the PRI report the problem is widespread. “Many home gardens have likely become a source of exposure for bees,” the report states.

The Texas A&M Extension website has some interesting and useful information on the chemical, along with some helpful tips for homeowners and commercial growers alike.

While it is safe to say that certain classes of pesticides are not the only enemies of pollinators, neither are the farmers who use these chemicals the only ones to blame for honey bee deaths. If anything, growers are more in tune and better educated than their urban counterparts when it comes to the effective and proper use of chemical pesticides and herbicides. Truth be told, at least some of the blame may rest with urban homeowners who have very little understanding of chemical pesticides and literally no understanding of label application rates.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 23, 2013

I've noticed the few bees that come around to my yard are smaller than bees of past years.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 28, 2013

these plants that you are blaming are grown by nursery folks who consider themselves a part of agriculture - I really am offended that you are throwing stones at our own people - I hope you will reconsider this blog direction - it is not helpful to the fight to keep good products registered.

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