Neonicotinoid Treated Plants Affecting Pollinators
Seeds and plants sold at home-improvement stores and gardening centers are being pretreated with neonicotinoids. Neonic residues, which can persist in plants and soil for up to six years, are poisonous to pollinators that are essential to our ecosystem and economy. Some pollinators, like the monarch caterpillar, may die after only two or three bites of neonicotinoid treated plant.
Pollinators contribute more than 24 billion dollars to the United States’ economy. Honey bees alone enable the production of 90 cash crops. However, the number of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. has decreased from 6 to 2.5 million in the last 60 years. Now more than ever, pollinators deserve full attention.
Garden Club of America Calls For Action.
The Garden Club of America is a nonprofit organization that promotes the conservation and enjoyment of American gardens. On May 5th, 2017, the organization’s executive board addressed the secretary of the Department of Agriculture, asking for restrictions on neonicotinoid use. The letter stressed the importance of pollinators and their role in society.
The main problem is that consumers are unaware of the neonic residues in the plants they are purchasing. Consequently, even those who are concerned and trying to help protect pollinators are unknowingly harming them. With this in mind, the Garden Club of America called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take action. Ideally, regulations will force distributors to stop using neonicotinoids, putting an end to the issue. Otherwise, they should have to at least mark the treated plants, allowing the buyer to make an informed decision.