Big Question: Do Plants Contain Neonicotinoids?

Bees love bee balm and Anise Hysopp
Bees love bee balm and Anise Hysopp

I am a firm believer in Education, and thank the media for making an issue of the loss of our bees.  News today that two major garden stores/growers, Bachmans and Gertens, in the Twin Cities will not use neonicotinoids on their own plants this year.  They are also educating their sales force on neonicotinoids.  This does not mean all their plants will be neonicotinoids free, because some of their suppliers might still be users.  As you shop for garden plants this year, you still need to ask, OR just purchase local native plants.  http://findnativeplants.com/  Read the full story:  http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/250843241.html

“Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. In March 2013, the American Bird Conservancy published a review of 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act, calling for a ban on neonicotinoid use as seed treatments because of their toxicity to birds, aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife. The use of some members of this class has been restricted in some countries due to some evidence of a connection to honey-bee colony collapse disorder.” From Wikopedia

Cone flowers: Easy to grow, and loved by bees!
Cone flowers: Easy to grow, and loved by bees!

Habitat loss, No Monarchs this year

Asclepias syriaca COMMON MILKWEED
Asclepias syriaca COMMON MILKWEED (Photo credit: gmayfield10)

There just isn’t enough milkweed!

The monarch butterfly numbers have plummeted, and experts tell us it is habitat loss due to bad weather(climate change), mono-cultures of corn and soybeans, and pesticides.

Why can’t you purchase common milkweed at garden stores? The experts say we should be planting common milkweed.  For the past two summers I have been trying to purchase milkweed.  Even native plant stores say, “Our supplier doesn’t carry common milkweed”  They consider it a weed.

For years I have been scattering seeds, but have not seen any results.

A garden store 3 hours from my home dug some out of their garden for me.  It was wilted by the time I was able to get it planted, but I cut it off and stuck in the ground.  Two weeks later it has some new growth and I am thrilled.

The last few years a monarch sighting was special, but this year, I can count on one hand the number of monarchs I have seen on my daily walks.  We all need to act!

What can we all do?

  1. Tell garden stores you would like to purchase common milkweed, and to please find a source so they can sell it to their customers.
  2. Plant other plants the monarchs love: Liatris, cone flowers, hyssop, butterflyweed, swamp milkweed and many smelly orange and yellow flowers.
  3. Reduce the amount of turf grass in your yard, and if possible just leave some wild areas for the birds, bees and butterflies.  Bees and butterflies love dandelions
  4. Do not use chemicals, especially neonicotinoid pesticides.
  5.  Use as many organic food products as you can, and buy local.

http://www.startribune.com/local/215176011.html  Monarch butterfly numbers down sharply

http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/

Monarch male showing its wings to attract a mate
Monarch male showing its wings to attract a mate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)