Saving Bees Starts With Reading Product Labels

May 29, 2016

As spring gardening picks up in Oregon, state officials want to remind everyone to be mindful of bee populations. Homeowners can take simple steps to "bee" friendly to pollinators.

To protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.

Warmer temperatures are arriving earlier this year, moving up the timetable for planting gardens and flowerbeds. The Oregon Department of Agriculture wants to remind gardeners and homeowners to be mindful of the products they use, as some are harmful to bees. Rose Kachadoorian is entomologist for the D.O.A.

Kachadoorian: “A lot of the companies that are marketing to homeowners have responded and they’ll even say ‘bee-friendly’ and provide some directions for use. There’s also a requirement by EPA that if there are any sort of bee restrictions or precautions, that’s actually stated on the pesticide label.”

Bee populations worldwide have been in decline in recent years, which many attribute to certain pesticides used by farmers and homeowners. Kachadorian also says the timing of pesticide application can help bees. In order to pollinate naturally, it's best to avoid treating the home garden just as plants bloom.

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