The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is funding a new research project to examine the health of honey bees on ornamental plants following treatment with neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides.
The two-year research project, “Impact and Residual Activity of Systemic Insecticides in Ornamental Plants,” with Clemson University researchers J.C. Chong, Steven Klaine and Jennifer Tsuruda, will document the translocation of systemic insecticides to various plant parts.
Use of the systemic pesticide category, neonicotinoids, has been linked to decline in bee populations due to the presumed presence of the chemical in pollen and nectar following drench or spray applications.
“This research will expand our knowledge about one of the multiple factors often cited as being related to colony collapse disorder (CCD),” says Dr. Terril Nell, AFE’s research coordinator. “Armed with solid scientific facts, the floriculture industry can continue to assure consumers that their landscape plants and flowers are safe for honey bees and other pollinators.”
Researchers will examine the pesticide residues in the pollen, nectar and leaves of treated plants following pesticide applications and document the impact on the behavior and health of honey bee colonies.
“This research will allow ornamental plant growers to reexamine their pesticide use patterns and the sustainability of their pest management programs,” says lead researcher J.C. Chong.
In addition to the new research project, a new educational video has also been released that provides information on the horticultural industry’s essential role in bee and pollinator stewardship.
The video,“Protecting Bees & Pollinators: What Horticulture Needs to Know,” serves as a valuable resource to industry professionals by providing an overview of factors affecting bee and pollinator health today.
The video talks about the current state of bee and pollinator health, provides information on factors that impact pollinators and the environment including the use of pesticides and underscores the beneficial role horticulture plays in providing healthy and nurturing pollinator ecosystems. The video was produced as part of the horticulture industry’s Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative, an effort established in 2014 by collaborating industry groups including AFE, the Society of American Florists, AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Institute.