I am a full fledge nursery hound. It gives me great pleasure to walk up one aisle of brilliant color and down the other with my little dog Lillian. People are always in a good mood in the plant’s department. They bend down and pet Lillian and make a fuss over her while we exchange small talk and everyone feels better.
So I was extremely concerned when I learned that there was a lot of buzz in recent years about a group of chemicals known as neonicotinoids. Nursery plants are often treated with the pesticide neonicotinoids. You might first think, “What could be the big harm? I not going to eat my flowers.” But here’s the BIG PROBLEM. Bees are the ones at risk. Neonicos infect a plant through its entire system, including the nectar and pollen. They harm bees as they go about their job of pollinating. These pesticides affect the general nervous system of the bees. New studies say neonicos do not obliterate bee colonies outright but instead kill them over extended periods of time. The pesticide also threatens the bee queen in particular…..which means colonies have lower reproductive rates.
People who love plants tend to love “the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees and the moon up above” and the last thing we want to contribute to is colony collapse. If anything I’m a bee lover and activist. I am very clear that a world without bee pollinators would wipe out: apples, cucumbers, avocados, cherries, onions, almonds, grapefruit, blueberries, oranges, pumpkins, kiwi, plums, guava, nectarines, pears, okra, apricots, coffee, macadamia nuts, lemons, figs, limes, watermelon, beets, cauliflower, raspberries, cacao, vanilla, tomatoes, grapes….to name a couple of dozen….
BECOME A BEE ACTIVIST
> Thousands of angry bee lovers have protested Lowe’s and Home Depot for supplying it’s garden department from nurseries that treat their plants with neonicos. Both these giant corporations agreed to phase out this chemical by 2019. If they have kept their word you should find a little plastic pop-up tab in the plant with the promise that no neonicos have been used in the 2019 garden season. If you can’t find the guarantee, ask staff. Home Depot is required to have a label on each pot.
> This conscious shopping for outdoor ornamentals also applies to Walmart, Whole Foods Market (now corporately owned), ACE Hardware, True Value Hardware and any other wholesale or retail nursery you may use.
> You can google up “Friends of The Earth”, the largest grassroots environmental network, with members in 77 countries, and keep up with their progress. These heroes have been working ferociously for years to ‘nix neonicos’, fighting to make sure that this chemical is not used on flowers, trees and shrubs in any stage of the growing process.
If I’m hip to something that is important, I’m on the double alert. On my tippy toes checking all the labels like I’m in the grocery store. I’m letting you know about it so you can spread the word to other plant lovers. Together we can do our part to save the honey bee, bumble bee and each wild bee. Save our food supply and our planet!
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