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PNS Daily Newscast - July 19, 2018 


Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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More Retailers Backing Sales of "Bee-Friendly" Plants

A new report says more retailers are selling bee-friendly plants, raised without using insecticides. (Bee Aware)
A new report says more retailers are selling bee-friendly plants, raised without using insecticides. (Bee Aware)
August 18, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — New tests found significant decreases in the use of bee-killing pesticides on "bee-friendly" plants. That’s good news for bees.

Friends of the Earth and the Pesticide Research Institute took samples of plants in 13 U.S. cities and compared them to samples taken in 2013 and 2014. They were looking for neonicotinoid insecticides in plants sold to gardeners and home owners.

In the previous tests, half of the plants tested positive for the toxins. This time, only 23 percent did. Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said retailers are starting to sell "bee-friendly" plants.

"Almost 70 retailers across the U.S. have made commitments to stop selling plants - and in some cases, products - that contain bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides,” Finck-Haynes said. “And so that's what's really shifting the entire garden industry."

The Arkansas Pollinator Stewardship Program is a statewide voluntary program between growers and beekeepers. Beekeepers put up yellow-and-black-striped "Bee Aware" flags so those spraying pesticides will know there are hives nearby. The chemicals can drift and kill entire colonies.

Bee losses have to stop, Finck-Haynes said. But some retailers are still selling plants pre-treated with pesticides. She said she hopes consumers will put pressure on those companies.

"Over 50 percent of Americans are more likely to shop at a Lowe's or a Home Depot because they've made that commitment to stop selling these bee-killing pesticides,” Finck-Haynes said. "So, this really demonstrates to Walmart, Ace and True Value that they could potentially lose their customers if they don't make these formal commitments."

More than 100 businesses, cities, universities, states and countries have restricted use of pesticides that are lethal to bees. According to a survey by Greenhouse Grower magazine, nearly three-quarters of growers who supply mass merchants and home-improvement chains said they will not use neonicotinoids this year.

A list of retailer's and grower's policies on pesticide use is available here.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - AR