Can planting certain flowers actually harm hummingbirds? June 27 2014
The topic of bee colony collapse disorder and its link to a class of pesticide known as neonicotinoids (or neonics) has been in the news quite a bit recently. This recent article contains some very good information about how toxic these pesticides are to all kinds of critters, hummingbirds included.
The article mentions that most garden centers and many growers actually treat their plants with neonicotinoids before they are sold to the consumer. This means that many plants purchased at big box retailers such as Lowe's, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart already have a harmful pesticide on them or they were grown from seed treated with it. And it can take years for the pesticide to break down (into sometimes even more harmful substances).
In fact, the Pesticide Research Institute and Friends of the Earth, a non-profit environmental group, just released their comprehensive report on June 25, 2014, with some disturbing results. The 65-page report confirms that over half of the test subject plants purchased at Lowe's, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart contained neocicotinoids that kill bees and birds.
So even if you never spray a thing in your own yard, you (and thousands of other well-intentioned gardeners) could actually be contributing to the plight of the pollinators.
What can you do? Buy organic or pesticide-free certified plants to help ensure that your garden or yard provides a healthy haven for pollinators.
Here is a list of retailers that have pledged not to sell plants that have been treated with neonicotiniods.
This is an important issue for all pollinators. I'll be posting more about it as I review the report more carefully.