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 http://bit.ly/15S6oja. 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

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.

Posted on 2/2/14
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

March 27, 2015 6136

Three Arrested during Execution of Search…

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 25, 2015 5593

Fazoli's, Roses Coming to Madisonville

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 5287

One Dies, Another Injured in Mortons Gap Traffic…

by Deputy Heath Owens
March 25, 2015 5223

Grand Jury Finds No Criminal Wrongdoing in Bean…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 30, 2015 4963

Man Charged with Child Abuse After Allegedly…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 24, 2015 4360

UPDATE: One Injured in Hopkinsville Road Accident

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

March 09, 2015 14315

Multi-Agency Drug Bust Results in $1 Million Meth…

by KSP DESI
March 02, 2015 11721

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Stories Trending Today

March 31, 2015 2296

Man Charged for Driving While under Influence of…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 01, 2015 1697

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 1,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers
April 01, 2015 1648

Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on Collision…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 31, 2015 1381

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
March 31, 2015 1327

Covenant Community Church Hosts Annual…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 31, 2015 1117

Hopkins County Misdemeanor Indictments

by Karen McKnight
March 31, 2015 1096

Madisonville Police Reports Released - March 31,…

by Madisonville Police Department
April 01, 2015 901

Couple Charged on Multiple Drug Offenses, Child…

by Sheriff Matt Sanderson
March 31, 2015 834

Glema Center April Schedule Features Jo Dee…

by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
March 30, 2015 729

Members from Madisonville Police, Hopkinsville…

by Abbie Darst