Neonicotinoid Application on Ornamentals Harmful to Bees Even at Low Doses

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside, published a study showing that neonicotinoid insecticides used by growers on ornamental plants are deadly to solitary bee species. The study authors initially thought more watering of the plants would help reduce the toxicity to bees, given that neonicotinoids are water-soluble. However, testing showed a 90% decrease in solitary bees’ reproduction when they were raised on native flowering plants treated with the insecticide, whether the plants were irrigated a lot or a little. Though the effect of neonicotinoid seed treatments on bees has been studied extensively, this is one of the first studies to explore the impact of neonicotinoid insecticide use on ornamental plants.