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Earth Day for Gardeners: Does not poison bees



  • A group of pesticides called neonicotinoids has been linked to the mass death of bees and other pollinators.
  • Although the problem is global, individual home gardeners can help by paying attention to the plants they buy.
  • To help consumers, plants are treated, terminated or labeled with neonicotinoid pesticides in several retail garden centers.
  • Home Depot, Walmart, Ace and TruValue are among the national retailers taking these steps.

Ten thousands of honeybees were found dead in 2013 in a parking lot in Oregon. People's awareness of a group of pesticides derived from nicotine raved about public radar. Bee mortality was due to a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids. They were particularly worrisome about the role bees and other pollinators play in food and plant production.

Groups such as Friends of the Earth focused on the topic and campaigned for changes from retailers and state governments that set a variety of consumer codes. The focus is on retailers and home gardeners, as about 90 percent of the bees do not live in large beehives. They are mostly loners, live in nests of less than a dozen insects and cover small areas like your garden.

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Alex Wild / University of Texas at Austin


This is one of the reasons consumers, who are taking care of the purchase of plants, seeds and pesticides this spring, can significantly impact efforts to restore the health of bees and other pollinators. With Earth Day on April 22nd – and the spring plantation associated with it – home gardeners are well-equipped to give a helping hand to pollinators.

"This is one of those global environmental issues that a single homeowner or a single person can do something about because the space requirements are so low," said Damon Hall, assistant professor at the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri co-author a recent study tracking changes in state laws on neonicotinoid pesticides.

Do You Know What You Are Buying

States, including Minnesota, California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico, and Oregon, have made changes to pesticide laws to let consumers know if the plants they buy contain potentially bee-dying neonicotinoids the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and Hall's own research.

"No matter what you have – if it is 20 x 10 yards – you can have certain types of bees, and individual small ones can live their entire lives in an area of ​​this size, provided they have enough flowers and a place to nest, "Hall told CBS MoneyWatch. "That's really remarkable, there are so few global environmental issues that a single person can do something about it."

Neonicotinoids were widely used in the 1990s as a safer alternative to existing pesticides for farmers. An increasing number of studies, however, show that they are harmful to pollinators such as bees and butterflies, as they can become ubiquitous in the larger environment. Last year, the European Union agreed to ban the pesticide group for the protection of pollinators.

In the US, the number of home gardeners is growing, especially among under-35s, according to an annual garden survey by Gardenresearch.com. According to the latest data, Americans spent a record $ 47.8 billion on their gardens and lawns in 2017. The average household lost $ 503, an increase of about $ 100 compared to 2016.

Major retailers respond

This could be another reason why the number of companies that are working is increasing. Today, large chains of garden centers such as Home Depot, Walmart, Ace Hardware and True Value are delivering on their promise to halt sales of neonicotinoid-treated products from seed to live plants. And many others are joining in the effort to woo worried gardeners, as a Friends of the Earth report says.

According to Home Depot, 97 percent of the live goods sold are neonicotinoid-free, after a program was launched in 2014 and collaboration with suppliers, according to a retailer's e-mail statement.

Lowe & # 39; s product still cuts with neonics, but there are many reasons why elimination is not a short-term goal. For example, some states require neonicotinoids, the retailer said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. Lowe's formally committed an exit in 2015, said it is expanding the neonicotinoid-free products and offering "information on neonicotinoids in the store and on the Internet".

Ace Hardware told CBS MoneyWatch that more than 95 percent of its sold insecticide products are among its products Independent owner-managed retail stores, like all their private Lawn and Garden brand products, are neonicotinoid free. The company has more than 90 new "natural and organic" products from brands such as Scotts, Dr. Ing. Earth, Espoma, Safer / Woodstream and Monterey added.

And True Value Stores "newest products" with neonicotinoid pesticides "out of the market" since they announced it. I will do that in 2015, the company said in an email to CBS Moneywatch. And Walmart said in an e-mailed statement that he complies with all state laws pertaining to the class of pesticides.

Hall encourages consumers to ask their garden centers how products are labeled and how they are valued before purchase. "Talk to the garden center staff and managers first and get in touch with them before you get in there," he said. "Do you think about these issues as an employee, are you aware of this, if not, there is no reason to shop there, there are other places that are very conscious and very conscious."


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