Knock on the door/ring bell.
Hi/Hello. I'm your neighbor, your name. I'm/We're wondering if you have heard about the loss of honey bees over the past few years?
Did you know that commercial honeybeekeepers have lost 30% or more of their honey bees during several of the most recent years? Many honey beekeepers in many countries of the world believe there is a class of insecticides that is implicated in the loss of bees. These pesticides are known as systemics and the poison shows up in both the pollen and the nectar of flowering plants.
And I'm sure you are aware of how important bees are as pollinators for our food. One-third of our food crop is dependent on them.
Do you know that "bee-friendly plants" that are sold by garden centers and nurseries can contain these poisons/toxins? You can only be sure that you are buying plants grown without pre-treated seeds or soil if you have a relationship with an independent plant nursery or grower who can verify that the plants they grow on site have been grown without contamination from systemics. When independent nurseries and chain stores buy their plants from wholesalers, they have no way of knowing how the plants were grown.
I'm/We're canvassing the neighborhood to see if you use pesticides to control insects in your yard or garden.
If so, do you know if any of them are systemics? (Show the card with the list of the active ingredients on the card.)
No, what are systemics?
Systemics are chemicals that permeate the whole plant: rooots, stem, branches, leaves, pollen and nectar. Any and all insects that land on the plant or feed on the plant are exposed to the chemical and can suffer damage or death. The soil surrounding the plant can also become contaminated. Systemics can accumulate in the soil and last for several years.
Systemic pesticides include the following chemicals: acetamiprid, clothianidin, cyantraniliprole, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, sulfoxaflor, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam.
How do you know if your products contain systemics? Most often, you can look for the list of active ingredients on the front of the container. You've got a systemic product if you see any of the chemicals (listed above in bold) on the label. A few products have more than one systemic as an active ingredient! These can be a doubly whammy for insects and honey bees.
If you have products that contain systemics, would you be willing to stop using them? (Level 1 Commitment - our main goal)
Would you be willing to go a step further and stop using any chemicals to deal with lawn or garden problems? - (Level 2 Commitment)
Because there are older classes of pesticides like the organophosphate pesticides which are harmful to humans. Chlorpyrifos is an example. It has been classified by EPA as moderately toxic to humans. Chronic exposure has been linked to neurological effects in fetuses and small children, developmental disorders and autoimmune disorders. Some chemical poisons are more harmful to humans and some are more harmful to honeybees but all poisons are poisons.
Bees need a safety zone that also includes plenty of plants that have pollen. Would you be willing to plant some plants that bees find attractive?
We, as a neighborhood, are asking others nearby to join together to create a place that is safe for bees and for us, too. If we can create a bee safe neighborhood together, then we can have
- A safety zone for pollinators to collect pollen without being poisoned
- A cleaner, healthier and more biologically diverse environment without toxins
- A community of neighbors who are working together to improve the places where they live
- The personal satisfaction of knowing that we are helping to preserve the pollinators!
So, will you sign the pledge to be part of the bee safe neighborhood? Would you like to print your name on the pledge sheet or I may I add your name to the pledge sheet?
I'll make a note that you will not be using systemics (or any poisons) in the future.
If you are not using any poisons in your landscape, would you be willing to plant some plants in your yard or garden for the pollinators in the spring, summer and fall (Level 3 commitment)?
Thank you again for being part of the Bee Safe Neighborhood!!!