House & Home

Bee Update: "Bee Friendly" Plants Might Bad for Bees

Posted August 17, 2013

Talk about sad news for bees. Just a few days ago, we were talking about how new research is uncovering important information about bee deaths; contamination of pollen may be one of the things sickening bee populations and causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and other bee health problems.

Now, we've got yet another piece of the puzzle to look at. Many homeowners worried about bees are excited about planting bee-friendly gardens, using plants that attract bees and provide ample pollen for them to use. To that end, many nurseries and home supply stores are tagging bee-friendly plants and helping their customers pick out the best options for their gardens, but now there's a catch.

Some of these same plants are contaminated with the very pesticides that are killing bees, which may be a result of the heavy use of pesticides in the nursery industry. Nurseries rely on pesticides and other chemicals to control conditions for their precious plants, ensuring that as many as possible make it to market. Judging from the pesticide load on these supposedly bee-friendly plants, advocates determined that they had probably been treated multiple times with pesticides known to be dangerous for bees.

Ugh, right?! You think you're buying plants from Home Depot that will help the bees, and instead you're adding to the problem. But don't panic: you can still have a bee-friendly garden. One option is to buy organic seedlings and starts, which cannot be treated by pesticides in accordance with organic certification regulations. You can also start your plants from seed, using organic seeds to make sure they come from a clean source. The bees will thank you!

Landscaping from Orlando to Portland, ME can be made safer and more friendly to pollinators if we all pitch in, so let's get to it.

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