Posted on 2/2/14

plos one 300FRANKFORT, Ky. (9/14/13) – Many homeowners may grimace at the sight of grubs, caterpillars or other pests lurking in their lawns, but understanding when and how to apply an insecticide to control these pests could have a big impact on native pollinator populations, according to a researcher from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Jonathan Larson, a UK doctoral student, has found that when neonicotinoids, a type of systemic insecticide, are applied to flowering lawn weeds that are frequented by native bees, such as dandelions and white clovers, the chemicals can negatively impact local pollinator populations.
While honeybee population decline has received much attention, bumblebee numbers have also been on the decline. Much like honeybees, bumblebee population decline is related to diseases, pesticides and habitat loss or fragmentation.
“With honeybee populations struggling, we need to rely on native bees, such as bumblebees, to pick up the slack on plant pollination,” said Dan Potter, UK entomologist and Larson’s adviser. “Many native bees are much more efficient at pollinating certain types of crops, like tomatoes, urban flowering plants and vegetables grown in home gardens.”
Larson’s research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that exposure to clothianidin, a neonicotinoid insecticide, negatively affected queen production. It also slowed foraging and caused higher mortality rates in worker bees within five days after exposure at plots on UK’s Spindletop Research Farm compared to control hives. When moved to an untreated field to forage for six weeks, the bees had a hard time gaining weight compared to the controls. Bumblebees exposed to chlorantraniliprole, from a relatively new class of lawn insecticides, developed and reproduced normally compared to the control hives.
“We’re trying to figure out ways that people can safely use insecticides and not affect native pollinators,” Larson said. “One way may be for homeowners and commercial lawn care professionals to use the newer class of insecticide instead of a neonicotinoid to control common lawn pests. Another way could be mowing treated areas.”
He found that when clover flowers treated with an insecticide are removed by mowing and new flowers grew to replace them, neither insecticide adversely affected bumblebee colonies.
“Direct contamination of the flowers is the problem, so homeowners need to remove the flower heads of weeds either before or after applying an insecticide to prevent exposure to native pollinators,” Larson said.
Larson is now studying the level of insecticides present in the nectar of subsequent generations of clover flowers after the field has been treated with an insecticide and the treated flowers have been removed.

The entire PLOS ONE article is available at Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.
SurfKY News
Information provided by Janie Culton your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Most Read This Week

November 20, 2015 9595

Dispatchers Overhear Drug Activity during…

by SurfKY News
November 24, 2015 9348

Distillery to Operate in Old Graham School…

by SurfKY News
November 21, 2015 8567

Injuries Result from Beulah Road Accident

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
November 23, 2015 7300

Relative Charged with Murder, Arson in Deaths of…

by SurfKY News
November 24, 2015 4165

Ohio County Most Wanted - Top 10 - November 24

by SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

November 17, 2015 14905

Ohio County Most Wanted - Top 10 - November 17

by SurfKY News
November 18, 2015 14254

Runaway Teen Returns on His Own

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

November 25, 2015 1515

Hopkins County Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted -…

by SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 1176

Man Hospitalized after Early Morning Car Accident

by SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 924

Students Serve to Learn Life Lesson

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 777

Madisonville Police Reports Released

by SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 741

Two Vehicle Collision Sends Four to Area Hospitals

by SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 674

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 650

A.G. Conway Announces $256 Million Settlement…

by SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 578

Thanksgiving is Peak Day for Cooking Fires

by SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 457

Ky. Division of Forestry Firefighters on Standby…

by SurfKY News
November 25, 2015 419

Members of Congress Need to Spend More Time on…

by SurfKY News