After a number of years of studying mysterious bee behavior and colony collapse disorder, this past May Harvard researchers announced a connection between massive bee die-offs and neonicotinoid pesticides. Bees are responsible for pollinating as much as a third of our food supply- without them, foods like strawberries and almonds would disappear completely, along with many other favorite foods. Gardeners and fresh food advocates have been lobbying for something to be done, and now Home Depot and BJ’s Wholesale Club are responding by agreeing to limit or eliminate neonicotinoids from all nursery plants by the end of 2014, or else have suppliers add warning labels like “caution to pollinators”. The hope is that this will add a cost burden to the production of pesticide-laden plants.
As a class of chemicals used as pesticides, neonicotinoids are particularly harmful because they spread throughout the entire plant structure, unlike other pesticides which can target just the roots, stems or leaves and leave the flowers and the pollen alone. If you’re worried about the health and well-being of bees, you can sign this petition to put pressure on Lowe’s, Walmart and garden centers across the country to follow Home Depot and BJ’s lead.
Also, planting non-neonic natives can also give big boosts to native bee populations, who are not only threatened by pesticides but also by the proliferation of non-native honeybees and bumblebees.