To Save Bees, Minn. Growers & Gardeners Are Switching Pesticides

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new trend in gardening is generating a buzz.

More growers and gardeners are moving away from chemicals and insecticides that are hurting or killing bees, which are responsible for pollinating 95 percent of our fruit.

In a study released in August, the Pesticide Action Network said 54 percent of plants bought at Home Depot and Lowe’s had neonicotinoid pesticides in their systems.

Once treated with neonicotinoids, the plants have the pesticide in them for up to two years.

“I think it’s so new that we’re all still getting educated on it,” said Leslie Johnson of Minneapolis. “Maybe that’s a good thing why spring is so late this year, because we can get a little more knowledgeable before we plant. There’s so much information now about how to help bee colonies thrive.”

Locally, Bachman’s is changing its policies. The company has been working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to address the decline of bees and to develop the best practices moving forward.

Bachman’s says that while the bee decline is a complex issue, it has begun to eliminate the use of neonictinoid pesticides in its Bachman’s-grown nursery stock and outdoor plants. It has also begun working with its suppliers to find alternatives to the pesticide stays in the products.

Plants that come from other suppliers that are sold at Bachman’s may still use neonictinoids.

Many gardeners like Sheryll Storry are paying attention to the changes.

“I don’t specifically buy for the bee population, but if I see them, it’s a great, you know, plus,” Storry said. “If I can avoid something known to be toxic to the bee population or birds or any other thing, I would do it. I would pay more money to do it.”

A statement from Home Depot said it is working with the EPA, insecticide industry and suppliers to better understand and monitor the research. The company is also offering alternative products for customers to protect plants and the bees.

You can download a free toolkit to help honey bees and get more information about Colony Collapse Disorder by visiting these links:

honeybeehavens.com

panna.org

nrdc.org

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