Pollinators and Insecticides

Bees and other pollinators are having a rough time.  Colony collapse disorder is still

Bumble bee. Photo: S.D. Frank

in full swing and with no explanation. Habitat destruction is reducing the number and diversity of plants available in the landscape. In the news recently, confirmation that neonicotinoid insecticides have detrimental effects on honey bees and native bees.  This is because these systemic insecticides are transported to all parts of the plants to which they are applied.  This is great for pest suppression because it make the leaves toxic to feed on.  However, these insecticides are also transported to the pollen and nectar where pollinators may get lethal doses but more often get sublethal doses that reduce colony productivity through effects on bee behavior and reproduction.  The Xerces Society has recently published a review on this topic that can fill you in on the details.  There is still a lot to learn about this topic and how to best protect bees.  However, it is important to be aware of as neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid is one of the most commonly used insecticides in ornamental landscapes.  In many cases applications could be reduced or alternative products could be used on flowering plants.  I encourage you to at least peruse the article.


One thought on “Pollinators and Insecticides

  1. Reblogged this on Insect Ecology and Integrated Pest Management and commented:

    Here is a blog post from last year. I brought it back because this time of year folks are putting systemic insecticides, such as imidacloprid on their lawns, bushes, and trees. Research has demonstrated that these insecticides can move into pollen and nectar and negatively affect bees and other pollinators. Consider other options before treating your yard or treating someone else’s yard. There are many insecticides available. When plants are flowering consider using something other than systemic neonicotinoids.

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