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Do systemic insecticides poison the nectar of flowers?

Posted by roselee z8 SW Texas (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 5, 08 at 20:37

There is a discussion on the Texas Garden Forum about the use the systemic insecticides. The question arose on whether it poisoned the nectar and pollen of the flowers as well as the leaves. I thought you folks might know the answer to that. Have there been any studies done on it?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Do systemic insecticides poison the nectar of flowers?

I would say yes. If the s.i. gets into the leaves and the fruit of a plant, why not the necture. But I am not positive. Because hummers are so small, it would take only a small amount of any pesticide to harm them, I would error on the side of caution.


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RE: Do systemic insecticides poison the nectar of flowers?

Thank you lynxville.


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RE: Do systemic insecticides poison the nectar of flowers?

The question was posted to several forums and I thought perhaps you all might be interested in the collected replies:

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Since the insecticide would be translocated to all parts of the plant logic says that it would also be in the pollen and nectar. I am aware of one study, done in Europe, that did look at what affect systemic insecticides would have on bees and traces of the insecticide used were found in the honey in the hives.

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What a good question! Yes, there have been studies. Systemics can be translocated to nectar and pollen. As a matter of fact, just about all parts of plants can be contaminated. They've shown, even, that plants treated with systemics can harm leaf cutter bees as they gather their little cuttings for nests. They're exposed to plant sap when making their perfect little circles, and their brood is exposed, too.

The two commonly used pesticides that I've read about are imidicloprid (which Bayer seems to be putting in everything these days) and acephate (which is in Orthene).

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Systemic insecticides and fungicides are meant to pass throughout the plants vascular system to all parts of plants. Insects, mites and larvae consuming sap or tissue are supposed to die from ingesting pesticide. The effect is concentrated in older tissue.

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It's been known for a long time that systemics contaminate nectar and pollen.

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From the research I've done on systemic insecticide, the indications are it is deadly to bees and other insects that contact it. They don't just fall out of the sky. They exhibit behavioral changes, disorientation, feeding problems, communication disturbances leading to death.


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