Pollinator Friendly Pest Management
There are many ways that gardeners and land managers can help to protect pollinators, while controlling insect pests. These include:
- Don’t treat crops or plants in bloom. Never spray on or near open flowers.
- Use the least toxic pesticide. Select pesticides that have a low impact and risk to pollinators. In general, dusts are more hazardous than sprays.
- Apply pesticides when bees are not actively foraging. Between 6pm and 7am in Massachusetts.
- Know where bee colonies are in your area.
- Follow Integrated Pest Management principles (more info at the bottom of this page)
For more information check out:
How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides from Oregon State University
A Pesticide Decision-Making Guide to Protect Pollinators in Tree Fruit Orchards from Cornell
This guide to pesticide ratings from the University of California Extension system
You can also explore the following UMass fact sheets, geared toward specific industries:
- For Landscape and Nursery Professionals
- For Home Gardeners
- For Vegetable and Fruit Growers
- For Greenhouse and Floriculture Professionals.
Neonicotinoids (and other insecticides)
Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of insecticides, which have both lethal and sublethal toxicity to bees. Below, you can learn more about non-target effects of neonicotinoids and other insecticides, and find more information about using neonicotinoids safely in your industry:
- Information about insecticide risks to non-target organisms for Landscape and Nursery professionals.
- Information about neonicotinoid alternatives for Landscape and Nursery professionals.
- Information about bio-rational pesticides for Landscape and Nursery professionals.
- Information about neonicotinoid use for Turf professionals.
Integrated Pest Management
Growers and gardeners are encouraged to use principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control pests. These include:
- Monitor. Know your pest levels so that you can make informed decisions.
- Know your Economic Injury Level. This is the population level above which the pest begins to cause economic harm to your operation. Only resort to chemical treatments when pest levels exceed this threshold.
- Use all of your treatment options. Use site design and non-chemical management tools to keep pest populations low – and rotate chemical treatments when they exceed thresholds.
- Keep good records. Record when your treatment strategies work – and don’t work. This will help you make management decisions in the future.
For more information about IPM, check out Fundamentals of IPM.