honeybees and white flowers

Neonicotinoids (neonics) are a class of insecticides similar to nicotine. Organically developed in the early 1990s, they are less toxic than the commonly used organophosphate and cabamates that had been the mainstay in the industry.

Neonics became popular in pest control due to their water solubility. This allows them to be applied to the soil and be taken up by the plant’s roots systemically. It also reduces the risk of insecticide drift from the target site.

How do Neonics Affect Bee Colonies?
honeybee box in garden

Recently, the use of Neonics has been restricted in some countries due to a possible connection to Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees. New research indicates that there is potential toxicity to bees through the low level contamination of pollen in agriculture.

These low levels do not kill bees directly. However, in conjunction with Varroa mites, loss of bee-friendly habitats, and the depletion of pollen rich plants, these factors all contribute to a decline in bee colony health.
honeybee box

Here at Untiedt’s, we have decided to err on the side of caution and attempt to avoid the use of Neonics whenever possible. We have a very large concern with this matter as we use bumblebees for pollinating in our high-tunnels, and we have substantial colonies of honeybees on our land for both pollinating and honey production.

Untiedt’s has not used neonics on any of our garden center annuals for several growing seasons.
Growing a Bee-friendly Garden

You can do your part to help the bee populations by planting annuals and perennials that bloom at various times during the season.

Below is a short list of annual bedding plants we have available at our garden centers that will be a great addition to your garden.

  • Ageratum – Partial Sun to Shade
  • Begonia – Partial to Full Shade
  • Bougainvillea – Full to Partial Sun
  • Cleome – Full Sun
  • Cosmos – Full to Partial Sun
  • Dahlia – Full Sun
  • Dianthus – Partial Sun
  • Nicotiana – Full to Partial Sun
  • Fuschia – Partial Shade
  • Geranium – Full to Partial Sun
  • Heliotrope – Full to Partial Sun
  • Impatiens – Partial to Full Shade
  • Lantana – Full Sun
  • Lobelia – Partial Sun
  • Marigolds – Full Sun
  • Morning Glory – Full Sun
  • Pansy – Partial to Full Sun
  • Petunia – Full to Partial Sun
  • Snapdragon – Full Sun
  • Sweet Alyssum – Partial Sun to Shade
  • Verbena – Partial to Full Sun
  • Zinnia – Full Sun
Also, if you must use pesticides in your home garden, avoid sprays that contain the chemicals listed below as these are Neonics:
  • Acetamiprid
  • Clothianidin
  • Dinotefuran
  • Imidacloprid
  • Nitenpyram
  • Thiocloprid
  • Thiamethoxam
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