When seeds are treated, plants are pre-treated or specimens are sprayed or injected with neonicotinoid insecticides, the pollen and nectar becomes as poisonous as the rest of the plant. Bees visiting that plant die or become too disoriented to find home. They may lose the ability to forage or fly. The queen and young starve in the nest. Not only honey bees and bumblebees, but other pollinators, many of them native, like butterflies are impacted.
Never use neonicotinoid insecticides. They are sold under various names, including imidacloprid, the most widely used pesticide in the world. These chemicals are decimating bee populations and have proliferated in garden centers and nurseries. Some of the plants you purchase there are pre-treated with these systemic poisons even though they are sometimes named “bee-friendly” plants!
Beyond that, neonicotinoids, being systemic, kill many other insects. They kill the butterfly and moth larvae that rely on your trees and other plants. Without these larvae, the only source of food for 95% of nestlings, parent birds cannot support their babies. Where neonics are used, bird populations are plummeting.
Please read labels and ask before you buy! Better yet, go to www.habitatcorridors.org and on the home page click on “Healthy Practices.” Click on “Pollinator Protection” from the dropdown menu. In the last paragraph is a link to a chart that gives the brand names of some local products containing neonicotinoid insecticides. Print the chart and take it shopping with you. Please don’t buy the products and tell the store why you are not doing so.
The Xerces Society has a list of common garden products available in the US that contain neonicotinoids. Please safely discard them and use non-neonic alternatives.
Buy native plants from CFC. All are free from neonicotinoids.