Neonicotinoids pesticides

Miami, FL

Bought a few Red Pentas for my butterfly garden after planting I discovered
they are treated with neonicotinoids. According to the Home Depot web site
"" "We require all of our
live goods suppliers to label plants that they have treated with Neonicotinoids.
Unfortunately I also planted 6 milkweed plants complete with cats was hoping
to see a few Monarchs but now not so sure. Should I rip everything out and
start over. With plants from what source? Anyone familiar with this poison?

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

it is a really controversial usage and studies are not complete , I do not know much about the subject , I would say watch and see what happens , make your own experience decision ,
Not always easy all that , and new products ,

Miami, FL

Contacted the Miami Dade County Cooperative Extension about my concerns, received this answer:

With regard to your enquiry about pesticide use on your bedding plants, it depends how the pesticide was applied. If sprayed neonicotinoids will remain active within the plant for about 6 weeks at most. If applied to soil it would be much longer (this an advantage when using the neonicotinoid imidacloprid since it can be drenched into the soil around trees and shrubs and overcomes the need for frequent foliar applications). It is important not to apply products containing this class of pesticides to plants during or immediately before flowering as it will be preferentially translocated to the flowers and the nectar they produce. This is why labels on products containing imidacloprid carry such a warning to avoid harm to nectar feeding insects in particularly bees. I wouldn’t be too concerned about any of the pesticide contaminating your soil as the amount present will be miniscule – imidacloprid is the active ingredient in a popular pesticide used for controlling pests on citrus, fruit trees and vegetables. As your plants grow the tissue levels of any pesticide residues will decrease and be no longer be of any concern.

UF/IFAS Miami Dade County Cooperative Extension

Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department

18710 SW 288 Street

Homestead FL 33030

Phone 305 248 3311 ext. 228

Fax 305 246-2932

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

hummm, that kind of answer could be why the bees are still at risk. Public/govt agencies have a tendency to minimize such situations and i think i would get a second opinion. You might want to check with a website such as which is devoted to organic methods of gardening which will probably maximize the situation and your answer may be somewhere in the middle (although i would go with dirtdoctor by default, you may have a more reasoned approach).

I don't suppose Home Depot knows how the toxin was applied to your plants?

In the future it is best to find out before buying plants, especially nectar and/or host plants. There are nurseries alert and aware of the problem and only grow and/or purchase non-treated plants that are free from pesticides.

It is a difficult decision and in the end we all have to make our own choices and learn from them and take the consequences. The concern is both for the caterpillars and the pollinators. It is easy to know if the caterpillars are affected because they will show signs (like dying, not being able to molt or complete their stages of development to become a butterfly or moth). With pollinators is it more difficult because how they are affected is not so obvious. You wouldn't know if their hive was killed off, for example.

I very rarely purchase nectar plants (and never purchase host plants) from big box stores. The ones that i have purchased, i cut the leaves down to minimal survival level and wash the roots completely of the dirt they came in, throw out the dirt and wash the remaining leaves very well, then plant them and wait for new growth. I know of people who have purchased plants, been excited to see caterpillars on them, saddened to see them dying. This is just my take on the problem and hopefully others will weigh in on the topic as well. Good luck :-)

This message was edited Oct 7, 2015 2:39 PM

Miami, FL

vitrsna asked:
I don't suppose Home Depot knows how the toxin was applied to your plants?

"" "We require all of our
live goods suppliers to label plants that they have treated with Neonicotinoids."
Also, the plants came with a plastic insert telling about the poison. It is not mentioned
how the poison was applied.

I removed all the flowers and transplanted in clean soil, in 6 months
I let them bloom hope that solves the poison problem.

Going to check out and buy from private nurseries which don't apply poison.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Bravo Chad786! I'm not sure if you cleaned and transplanted both the Pentas and the milkweeds or one or the other...anyway, you are on your way to having a healthy place for all the pollinators as well as Monarch caterpillars. Looking forward to seeing some photos in the future. You are doing a wonderful thing by creating habitat for caterpillars and butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and all the other pollinators and i wish you great success with your garden, and lots of fun and surprises. :-D You are in Miami, so you should be able to grow Mexican Flame Vine...this is a favorite for all the forms of nectar lovers and should be available in the nurseries there. It looks like this when it is blooming. I can't send it because i am editing so i will send it in a separate post.

This message was edited Oct 10, 2015 8:52 PM

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Mexican Flame Vine

Thumbnail by vitrsna
Miami, FL

Thanks, going to get a couple of Mexican Flame Vines.
I have 2 trees just waiting to be covered in vines.
I do have a rather large Mexican Fire Bush with bees
buzzing around it. Few years back saw a Hummingbird,
first and only one I have seen in the wild - amazing sight.
I keep you updated.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

Great! The Mexican Flame Vine will attract hummingbirds and all the other nectar lovers. They also love Justicia brandegeeana (Red Shrimp Plant), and salvia coccinea (Red Sage i think it is called). With just these three plants, you will be up to your knees in hummingbirds. Antigonon leptopus (Coral Vine) is for the bees. Mexican Flame Vine is for everybody :-). With the Justicia and Salvia coccinea, i have hummingbirds in my garden every day, all year. The Justicia, once it starts blooming, it just doesn't stop. I am not growing the Salvia at the moment and i can not remember its bloom habits. The Mexican Flame Vine blooms for 3 or 4 months, then stops for a couple, 3 months, then blooms again. This seems to be the pattern. I think i get 3 or 4 blooms per year.

Miami, FL

Could not find Mexican Flame Vine plants but ordered seeds so I will post
my progress.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

I can show you photos of seeds and seedlings. Who did you order your seeds from? I ask this because in the US, Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides aka Senecio confusus) generally cannot be grown from seed. This vine is widely considered in the US to be sterile.

The plants i have produce viable seeds and i have several young plants from seed, but the original plant is from a cutting i found in an abandoned garden. As with some plants, the seeds remain viable only for a short time. I have tried sending some seeds to both India and the US but none of those seeds germinated. You should be able to find a vine (easily started from cuttings) in the US at a nursery. To be sure you are ordering the correct plant, use both the common names and both botanical names. You might check with your seed vendor to make sure they are sending you what you are expecting. Possibly you can cancel the order. There are a number of plants referred to as Mexican Flame something, Mexican Firespike, etc and can be easily confused. You can order one vine from a nursery or seller online and then take a cutting when that one grows up a bit so you don't have to purchase 2 plants. You can also check the "trades" section here at DG and either purchase or swap seedlings. The vine surely should be available to you in Florida and maybe very close to home.

Thumbnail by vitrsna Thumbnail by vitrsna
Miami, FL

Seeds have shipped so will wait and see.
Searched on Dave's Garden and found a source
for plants but I'll give the seed a try.

Colima, Mexico(Zone 11)

It will be big news if the seeds germinate and they are the MFV that you expect. Be sure to let us know if they do germinate and where you purchased them. The leaves of the seedlings are slightly waxy...not quite leathery. I hope you will be able to send a photo. Good luck!

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