What’s killing the bees? The pesticide neonicotinoid, for one thing, and it’s routinely used on plants for sale and earlier in the plants’ lives, at the wholesale growers’. That discovery has led to an anti-neonic campaign targeting the boxes in particular, leading to headlines like “Bee Activists Swarm Home Depot and Lowes.”
Though the impact of HD and Lowes changing their ways would be huge, bee-lovers aren’t holding their breath waiting for them to take action. Groups like Friends of the Earth aimed more locally and approached the beloved family-owned Behnkes Nurseries about the problem, and got results. Behnkes president Alfred Millard announced changes the company is making on their website: stopping the sale of neonics, not using them on the plants it sells, and giving preference to growers who don’t use the pesticide. (Full disclosure, I’ve been a Behnkes customer for decades and now blog for them.)
It’s too soon to know the effect this move will have on the company’s bottom line, but immediately upon the announcement local writer Alison Gillespie wrote “Behnkes to Avoid Neonicotinoids!
I would like to officially salute Behnke’s Nurseries in Maryland for making a bold statement on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. ….I am tremendously proud of this local nursery and so very appreciative that they are making an effort to give gardeners in the DC Metro area a place to find plants that are truly pollinator-friendly.
And later, in bold:
I would love to see statements like this from other nurseries. I would gladly publicize them on this blog.
So garden shoppers and especially shoppers who blog or use social media, how about suggesting to your favorite garden center that they take action on this bee-killing pesticide and promising that if they do, you’ll shout about it from your digital rooftop?
Here’s the Rant’s own Evelyn with Behnkes perennial department folks and president Alfred Millard.