What motivates sales of pollinator-friendly plants?

Image of urban garden.

(EurekAlert/American Society for Horticultural Science) An analysis out of the University of Georgia details the relationship between consumer awareness and the attentiveness and care given to pollinator-friendly plant purchases. The results show that information from the federal government, nursery/greenhouse industry associations, and environmental activist groups has the same impact on self-reported future pollinator-friendly plant purchasing as the no-information group. Only information from universities and major media outlets reportedly drives changes in consumer behavior.

Pesticide seed coatings are widespread but underreported

Image of pesticide-coated seeds

(Penn State) Pesticide-coated seeds – including neonicotinoids – are increasingly used in the major field crops but are underreported, in part, because farmers often do not know what pesticides are on their seeds, according to an international team of researchers. “One of the most important findings of this study is that farmers know less about pesticides applied to their seeds than pesticides applied in other ways.”

Pesticides damage the brains of baby bees

Image of CT scan of bumble bee brain.

(CNN) Research from the Imperial College London has found that baby bumble bees can feel the effects of food contaminated by pesticides brought back into the colony, making them poorer at performing tasks later in life. Pesticide-contaminated food caused parts of the bee brain to grow less, leading to older adult bees possessing smaller and functionally impaired brains – an effect that appeared to be permanent and irreversible.

California banned chlorpyrifos from your food. Now it won’t be manufactured

Image of helicopter spraying.

(Los Angeles Times) The primary manufacturer of a pesticide banned by California and the European Union said it will no longer produce the chemical. The move comes as the market for chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to developmental disorders and is toxic to bees, shrinks rapidly — the European Union followed California’s lead in banning it, as has New York.

Wasps’ gut microbes help them – and their offspring – survive pesticides

Close-up image of tiny wasp.

(ScienceDaily/Cell Press) Exposure to the widely used pesticide atrazine leads to heritable changes in the gut microbiome of wasps. Additionally, the altered microbiome confers atrazine resistance, which is inherited across successive generations not exposed to the pesticide. Even though these wasps are not natural crop pollinators, the study could have broad implications. Notably, bacterial atrazine-metabolizing genes are also present in wild bee populations exposed to the pesticide.

Experts call for overhaul of pesticide regulations

Image of tractor spraying.

(Phys.org) A trio of researchers are calling for an overhaul of the regulatory frameworks that define the ways that pesticides can be used. “Environmental risk assessment of pesticides does not account for many stressors that have intensified in recent years, such as climate change, habitat destruction, and increasing landscape homogeneity, the combination of which can aggravate effects of pesticides in nature.”

EPA used ’emergency’ loophole to approve pesticides toxic to bees on millions of acres in 2019

Image of honey bees on frame.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Environmental Protection Agency reported that in 2019 it issued so-called “emergency” approvals to spray neonicotinoids — pesticides the agency itself recognizes as “very highly toxic” to bees. The great majority of those approvals were issued for the neonicotinoid called sulfoxaflor, prior to the EPA’s July decision to permanently expand its use. That decision, which obviates the need for further emergency approvals, has prompted multiple lawsuits from beekeepers, food-safety and conservation advocates.