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Friday, May 29, 2015

Systemic Poisons - Based on Nicotine Chemistry

Didn't know about this....
I took this photo of a plant at Home Depot. These tags should start appearing in their plants as part of a voluntary effort to alert buyers at Home Depot to the presence of neonicotinoids. However, the positive spin on neonicotinoids – systemic toxins that kill or weaken any insect that feeds on the plant in any way, including beneficial polinators – has managed to obliterate the true message here:
“This plant is toxic to pollinators: bees, butterflies, moths, lady beetles, and other beneficial insects because of Neonicotinoids.”
All major growers (Proven Winners, Monrovia, etc.) use neonicotinoids in their plants at some stage of growth. The plants are available at Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, and many garden retailers. Plants may or may not be labeled. Before you buy, ask questions. If they can't answer, go to someone who can. Buy locally-grown (preferably native) plants where the seller knows the source and can answer questions.
(Edited to clarify where the labeling effort is coming from. It is not an EPA requirement at this level.)
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Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. In the 1980s Shell and in the 1990s Bayer started work on their development.[1] The neonicotinoid family 
includes acetamipridclothianidinimidaclopridnitenpyramnithiazinethiacloprid and thiamethoxamImidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world.[2] Compared to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides neonicotinoids cause less toxicity in birds and mammals than insects. Some breakdown products are toxic.[3]
In 2008 neonicotinoids came under increasing scrutiny over their environmental impacts starting in Germany. Neonicotinoid use was linked in a range of studies to adverse ecological effects, including honey-bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) and loss of birds due to a reduction in insect populations. In 2013, the European Union and a few non EU countries restricted the use of certain neonicotinoids.[4][5][6]
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GJ - I just ordered another Walliser book - Good Bugs, Bad Bugs. She wrote the beneficial insect book I use as my guide.
Syrphid flies lay their eggs to hatch and have their babies eat such pests as aphids.
I saw them hovering over my rose bushes.


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Life History:
A female will generally lay a single egg near a food source, such as where there is an aphid infestation and the larvae will emerge in about three days. The larvae have no legs or eyes, but are very efficient at finding prey. As they mature over the next two to three weeks they will consume large amounts of food. Once they are mature though they fall off the leaves and form into a pupa. They will be in the pupal stage for about 2 weeks after which time they emerge as adults, unless they are to overwinter in the leaf litter in the pupal stage. Once they emerge as adults they will mate and lay eggs. The adults feed on pollen and nectar as well as honeydew, a sugar substance made by insects like aphids and left on leaves.

Syrphid flies are among the many beneficials that benefit from the presence of common yarrow.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 1789-1790). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 
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GJ - Systemic poisons have been around for decades. The idea is to kill any insect that lands on the plant and tries to have a meal - or obtain pollen.