Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - September 18, 2018 


Kavanaugh now expected to meet his accuser at an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. Also on the Tuesday rundown: An Albany rally calls for a million solar households; and #GetCaughtReading – a weeklong campaign for readers of all ages.

Daily Newscasts

Study: "Bee-Friendly" Stores are Shops of Choice

New numbers show that stores carrying "bee-friendly" products are seeing an uptick in sales while lowering the use of toxic pesticides. (Mark Holloway/flickr)
New numbers show that stores carrying "bee-friendly" products are seeing an uptick in sales while lowering the use of toxic pesticides. (Mark Holloway/flickr)
August 18, 2016

HELENA, Mont. — 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 big box retailers like Home Depot and Lowe's 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.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Montana beekeepers reported between 40 and 50 percent of their colonies died in 2014. Researchers blame pesticides and varroa mites as two of the primary issues leading to bee population decline. Montana is ranked second in the nation for honey production.

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.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT