I do not want my plants to harm any honey bees. Does that mean that all of...

Asked February 10, 2014, 2:39 PM EST

I do not want my plants to harm any honey bees. Does that mean that all of the seeds that I use have to be organic?

St. Mary's County Maryland bees beneficial insects honey bees protecting

1 Response

You do not need to use organic seeds in order to protect honey bees (or any bees--there are many pollinating native bees.) And plants themselves are not a problem for pollinators. In fact, the more diversity you have in plants--especially native plants--- the better.

The biggest problem for bees that has been identified lately is a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. This includes the pesticides imidicloprid and clothianidin. They have been implicated in colony collapse syndrome, along with other harmful factors. These pesticides are extremely widely used, unfortunately, and so far the only step to control their use has been to put warnings on the labels. Homeowners must never apply these to a flowering plant, including clover in a lawn. We all need to become much more savvy about this.

For some plants recommended for pollinators and other beneficial insects, see this publication from our website: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG62%20IPM%20A%20Com...