This fact sheet explores how ubiquitous insecticide seed treatments threaten water quality throughout the Midwest, focusing on the most commonly used neonicotinoid insecticides. It also discusses how disposal of excess treated seed can impact waterways and communities, and how we can all address these threats.
Three core elements of pollinator-friendly growing include using non-chemical methods to prevent and manage pests, monitoring of pest pressure, and limiting risk to pollinators if pesticides are used. These concepts are rooted in integrated pest management and are familiar to most growers. Offering Bee-Safe Nursery Plants: A Guide for Nurseries explains these concepts further and was created for wholesalers and retailers to explore, encourage, and implement pollinator friendly pest-management in the nursery business.
Creating a welcoming home for local pollinators in your home garden or city park habitat is reason enough to choose plants free from harmful pesticide residues. Nurseries are more likely to make investments in pollinator-friendly production if their customers make it clear this is what they want. Our guide, Buying Bee-Safe Plants, covers four ways to help you find plants that are safe for bees, and includes tips and questions to use at the nursery.
The Xerces Society joined a group of environmental and health organizations to petition the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to regulate the planting of crop seeds coated with systemic insecticides. California's pesticide regulatory system has a loophole that allows for unchecked use of insecticide-coated seed on farms throughout the state. Neonicotinoid insecticides are commonly used as seed coatings, resulting in significant contamination of California's waterways and ecosystems as they move off-field.
A chemical control strategy like neonicotinoid seed treatments should only be considered when there is a potential for harm demonstrated by scouting and field history. This fact sheet evaluates use of insecticidal seed treatments for seven corn and soybean pests and offers guidance on: (a) which corn and soybean pests neonicotinoid seed treatments may be used for, (b) when scouting should occur to inform future decisions on use of neonicotinoid seed treatments, and (c) how to scout for these early season pests.