Tucked away in the Home and Garden section of the Star Tribune, Kim Palmer reports that Some Twin Cities garden centers are banning a pesticide thought to harm bees. And in the state and local news, Josephine Marcotty reports that Pesticides that hurt bees don't help farmers, study finds.
Missing from both reports? A bipartisan bill making its way through the Minnesota House that would prevent the sale of bee-lethal products as bee-friendly:
A person may not label or advertise a plant, plant material, or nursery stock as beneficial to pollinators if it has been treated with and has a detectable level of a pollinator lethal insecticide.
Palmer reports in Some Twin Cities garden centers are banning a pesticide thought to harm bees:
The growing season is fast approaching, and this year, many gardeners have a new worry: how to attract pollinators to their gardens without poisoning them in the process.
It’s a complex and controversial topic that caught fire last summer after the release of a study claiming that many plants sold at garden centers, even so-called “bee-friendly” plants, had been pre-treated with neonicotinoids, a widely used class of pesticides that some believe is a factor in bee die-offs or colony collapse disorder.
Many home gardeners had never heard of the “n” word before last year.
“One woman called me, crying, because her whole hedge, that she’d planted in part for pollinators, came from a company that uses neonics,” said Paige Pelini, co-owner of Mother Earth Gardens inMinneapolis, which recently hosted a seminar on the topic. “I’m glad people are worked up about it,” she said, although she doesn’t want gardeners to panic and overreact.
Neonicotinoids’ role in bee decline, as well as how long the pesticide remains active and toxic, is unknown and being studied. However, some garden retailers are already taking action. Minneapolis-based Bachman’s recently announced that it had removed products containing neonicotinoids from its store shelves, and was eliminating the use of neonicotinoids in its nursery stock and outdoor plants at its growing range in Lakeville. . .
Gertens will also be a neonicotinoid-free zone but the article notes that:
. . . it’s up to the biggest players in the market: Home Depot and Lowe’s. … Action from these two major companies will shift the whole supply chain in the right direction, making it much easier for small and midsize local stores to source neonic-free plants.”
If passed into law, the bill would give consumers confidence that they genuinely are helpful provide pollinators healthy habitat and food.
The Marcotty article, Pesticides that hurt bees don't help farmers, study finds, contains this distressing (and disputed) news:
The pesticides that are now synonymous with the demise of honeybees don’t do much for the farmers who use them, according to an analysis by a national environmental group that could open up a new front on the fight to protect a beloved pollinator that is critical to American food supplies.
The Center for Food Safety said Monday that a growing body of independent scientific evidence shows that the pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, rarely improve crop yields. They are one of the most widely used agricultural chemicals in the world and a hot-button issue in the rising public concern over the fate of the honeybee.
Today almost every corn and soybean seed that is planted each year on 170 million acres across the Midwest is coated with an insect neurotoxin that is absorbed by the growing plant. They are commonly used in back-yard products, and are intrinsic to most nursery plants, which now come “pre-poisoned” as a defense against insects. . . .
Bayer CropScience, the primary manufacturer of neonicotinoids, disputed the conclusion and said that its own proprietary research shows that the pesticides are a valuable tool, and increasingly important as the world’s growing population will require even more food production per acre. . . .
Read both articles, and ask your state representative and senator to support the pollinator (and consumer) friendly bills.
HF2908, which provides compensation for death caused by pesticide poisoning, establishes a pollinator emergency response team, and provides civil liability for bee deaths, is moving on to the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance Committee. No hearing date has been scheduled.
Update: HF2908 is being rolled into the HF 3158 Omnibus bill, via the DE1 amendment, in the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance Committee.
Image: Bee health!
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