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Making a Buzz over Pollinators

Latest push to save honeybees

Plants pretreated for insect resistance with neonicotinoids will no longer be on the shelves at Ace Hardware. That’s good news for any bees in the area. A relatively new class of pesticides, neonicotinoids have come under scrutiny as a possible cause of the collapse of honeybee colonies. The chemical pesticide targets an insect’s nervous system, causing paralysis. Bees are apparently as susceptible as pesky bugs.
    Ace says that to protect pollinators it will be working with all its vendors to make the switch to other pesticides. This change is the latest in a larger movement among nurseries, landscapers and retailers. More than 20 have stopped selling plants treated with neonicotinoids in the past year, including Home Depot and Lowes.
    Honeybees need to stay healthy, because they’re responsible for pollinating a large portion of food crops in the U.S. If honeybees were to die out, we would need to find an alternative for pollinating crops or else suffer a greatly reduced food supply.
    Pete Peterson, co-owner of Ace Hardware stores in Glen Burnie and Edgewater, wants to do more for the bees. “If all the people using neonicotinoids stopped, that might be like three percent of the population,” he said. “But if everybody planted nectar-rich plants for pollinators that’d be a huge help. We sell numerous types of plants — salvias, sages, rosemary, basil — all rich with nectar for bees.”