Thursday, July 10, 2014

Before you spray, think of the bees

It was the rosebush or the Japanese beetles. One of them would lose, and that year I sided with my rugosa Magnifica, a fragrant repeat bloomer that produces plump rose hips once the magenta flowers are pollinated.
Don’t think it was an easy decision to spray the shrub with an insecticide to get rid of the pests that had devoured more than a few plants in my yard. The pollinators that made it possible for me to get rose hips from that bush might have been the next visitors. So the flowers had to go, too.
Unfortunately, my homemade spray of soapy water and cayenne pepper hadn’t worked. Manually collecting beetles every day didn’t fix things, either. This year, I’m just watching the bugs munch. I don’t have a solution, but I don’t want to put the bees at risk. They’re too valuable.
Bees, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, bats and flies carry pollen among plants as they collect nectar. In the process, they pollinate more than 75 percent of our flowering plants and close to 75 percent of our food crops, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Bee colony losses are an international concern, and household pesticides are among the dangers to those creatures. Before spraying in your yard, read up on protecting pollinators at Post your suggestions for protecting plants from pests at the blog address below.

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