Many plants benefit from pollinators. Some, like almonds trees, are dependent on them to reproduce. Pollinators are attracted to nectar or pollen. As the pollinator goes from flower to flower, they help plants reproduce, providing us with fruits, vegetables, and nuts. There are many different species of pollinators, including the well-known honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and the lesser known bats, lizards, flies, and beetles.
- Most insecticides can hurt bees and butterflies. Minimize the need for insecticides by tolerating harmless pests and trying alternative methods first.
- Create habitat for pollinators by making your landscape complex, with a variety of plant types, ground cover, and refuge areas.
How can you protect pollinators when using pesticides?
- Do not spray flowers directly.
- Do not spray while pollinators are active. Spraying in the evening, after bees have returned to their hives, allows for spray residues to dry overnight.
- Always follow the label directions when applying a pesticide product. Pay special attention to the “Environmental Hazards” section of the label.
- Consider using granules rather than liquids. Granules are less likely to leave residue on plant surfaces.
- Apply as close as possible to the target pest to minimize pesticide drift.
- There are trees that bees are attracted to, like Linden and Basswood trees, which are toxic to bees. Treating those trees may create a lethal combination for honeybees and other pollinators.
- Honeybees and other pollinators need water. Keep in mind some products intended to kill mosquitoes in birdbaths can be toxic to pollinating insects.
- Consider using native plants. They often require less maintenance and pesticide use.
- Learn about Extended Residual Activity (ERT or RT),
the amount of time residue may be expected to be harmful to bees. Look up your active ingredient in this publication to learn more.
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated June 27, 2017