UPDATE ON THE NEONICOTINOID CONTROVERSY AS OF APRIL 2017
Beware of purchasing native plants and native plant seeds from your local nursery, garden center or big box store. The plants may have been treated with Neonicotinoids which are known to kill pollinators.
As of this date, plants for sale and supplied to Home Depot have been treated with NEONICS either as soil drench, systemic foliar spray or seed treatment. These seed treatments, soil drenches etc. will make your plant toxic to the pollinators you want to attract to your garden. According to recent studies , the use of NEONICS in any of these forms remain in the plant for a minimum of several months, and may be toxic for years.
Sources for plants grown without NEONICS:
- The Xerces Society maintains the list of pesticide free native plant seed sources across the country. http://xerces.org/pollinator-seed/
- Here is an article published Oct. 2016 that lists NEONIC free nurseries. https://thegardendiaries.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/pesticide-free-nurseries/
Big Box Stores update:
- Lowes - plants starting in 2015, is phasing out the sale of NEONIC treated
- Home Depot - continues to sell NEONIC treated plants and they are labeled as such
- Other chains may or may not label their NEONIC treated plants
Major plant wholesalers:
Proven Winners: As of August 2016 Proven Winners no longer use NEONICS.
NEONICS used on Agricultural Crops pose threat to pollinators:
This Univ. of MN entomology dept. explains how pollinators are affected by NEONIC use on wind pollinated crops such as corn:
“Bees can absorb neonics in several ways. One is by drinking nectar or by transferring pollen. Another is through a process called guttation, which is the act of a plant sweating.
Corn, for example, sweats during the night. Bees can obtain water from guttation droplets, especially during dry weather. Aphids, one of the real targets of neonicotinoids, insert their needle-like mouthparts into plant tissue and suck plant juice all day long rather than imbibing guttation droplets.
The neonicotinoids are also in the sweet excrement, or honey dew, from the aphids, which honeybees collect. So it's possible for the honeybees to absorb neonicotinoids indirectly from a treated plant without ever visiting that plant.” http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/neonicotinoids-what-home-gardeners-need-to-know
Data compiled by Arabella Dane April 27 2017
 “Lowe's plans to stop selling pesticides linked to the massive decline of honeybees around the world. The home improvement chain announced on Thursday that it would phase out products containing neonic pesticides over the next four years”NBC News Science April 9 2015
"The Proven Winners propagator companies no longer use neonicotinoid products in our young plant production. By eliminating this class of pesticides, we can allow the thousands of independent growers who produce Proven Winners finished plants (as well as finished plants for many other plant companies) to decide whether the plants they sell are grown without the use of neonicotinoids. If you are concerned about the plants you are buying from your local retailer, ask them about it. You’ll find that people who enjoy flowers and gardening are usually pretty down to earth and love to talk “shop”.