Scoop! Archives

Bees, Insecticides and Cottage Farms

Cottage Farms has been in the nursery business for nearly 70 years and we know how important a healthy environment is for all of us.

There have been some reports and public concerns that a group of widely used insecticides known as neonicotinoids (neonics) can negatively impact bee populations and, specifically, might cause colony collapse disorder. However, neonics have been used extensively in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and bee populations have not declined in those areas. According to an article in Scientific American (September 16, 2013), North American honeybee colonies have been stable even during the time that neonics use became widespread in the United States.

There are legitimate concerns about the use of insecticides. Neonics are a class of insecticides first introduced in the 1990's and the USDA and most state regulatory agencies list them as effective alternatives for many older and more toxic options. They are safer for mammals (including humans) than many other insecticides and some are approved for use on food crops.

We are committed to choosing options that are safer and effective and using them in a responsible and minimalistic way. We are required by various state and federal regulatory agencies to treat for specific pests in order to ship into many parts of the country. This is not unique to us. All nurseries have to meet regulatory requirements to ship across state (and sometimes even county) lines.

We do use some neonics, but we use them carefully, in rotations with other pesticides and only as needed.� At our nursery, we collect seeds from shrubs we have planted in hedgerows throughout the nursery. We depend on bees to pollinate those hedgerows and we must maintain a healthy bee population to produce viable seeds year in and year out. If the insecticides we use responsibly at the nursery were impacting our bee population, we would be the first to know.

We are always looking for environmentally friendly options, but we safely handle our plants every day and we are confident you can feel secure and safe in planting our crops in your landscape.