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

October 06, 2015 4811

County Passes Occupational Tax Ordinance

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
October 07, 2015 4665

Alleged Attempt to Hide Meth in Doughnuts Results…

by SurfKY News
October 05, 2015 4045

Four Charged with Drug Offenses after Motel…

by SurfKY News
October 06, 2015 3733

Dawson Man Charged with Cultivating Marijuana,…

by SurfKY News
October 07, 2015 3177

Vehicle Overturns during Two-Car Collision

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read This Month

September 16, 2015 13330

Mining Accident Fatality - Update

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
September 30, 2015 11397

Dawson Woman Dead After Princeton Factory…

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

October 08, 2015 1265

Madisonville Police Department Reports Released -…

by SurfKY News
October 08, 2015 1122

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

by SurfKY News
October 08, 2015 1067

Local Pastor's Son Filming Documentary about…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
October 08, 2015 822

Work Zone Lane Restriction on Pennyrile Pkwy Set…

by SurfKY News
October 08, 2015 720

Democratic Candidate for Governor Jack Conway…

by SurfKY News
October 08, 2015 705

Registration for Free 'Project Hire Kentucky'…

by SurfKY News
October 08, 2015 597

UPDATE: Mortons Gap Boil Water Advisory Lifted

by SurfKY News
October 08, 2015 564

Guns - Stopping That One Person

by SurfKY News
October 08, 2015 561

UK Announces Major Outreach Initiative for…

by SurfKY News
October 09, 2015 555

Travis Ipox Appointed as New Agency Manager of…

by SurfKY News