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Pollinators and Pesticides

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

I recently saw a post by a fellow beekeeper in my area regarding their bees suffering from pesticide exposure. Unfortunately this is not too uncommon for beekeepers in suburban settings. I've never experienced this myself and feel this is largely to do with me not treating my yard and garden with broad-spectrum pesticides that harm bees or other pollinators. Instead I use all natural, organic pesticides that only harm certain insects that are feeding on my plants. All are inexpensive and easy to find. The main ones I use are:

Neem Oil

This pesticide is only harmful to insects that consume the areas you apply it ie. the leaves. Works great against Japanese beetles!

Monterey BT

A bacteria that only targets worms aka caterpillars. I even use this product in my hives to combat against wax moth worms so I'm certain it doesn't harm my bees.

Cold Pressed Orange Oil

Very acidic solution that dissolves insect exoskeleton. Use against fire ant mounds

Mosquito Dunks

The number one way to prevent mosquitoes from taking over your yard is to keep them from repopulating. I make sure to remove any standing water in my yard by pouring out bird baths or buckets that collect rain water over time. For things that you can't dump out like ponds or marshy areas you can use mosquito dunks. Like Monterey BT this is a bacteria that only targets mosquito larvae. Depending on the reservoir you place them in they can last for as long as a few months

I know this list doesn't solve everyone's problems and they aren't as easy and effective as using broad-spectrum pesticides like Sevin but nothing about yard work is easy. Plus if you want pollinators to make your garden and yard healthy you owe it to yourself to try these or other, natural pesticides out. If you have a severe problem with mosquitoes or flies there are more sophisticated bug zappers such as the Dynatrap that and are silent and don't catch as many good insects.

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