As the weather gets warmer more people are out working in their yards. Unfortunately, this means that many will be using pesticides on their flowers, grass, and gardens and many of these pesticides contain neonicotinoids (neonics for short). These particular pesticides go by the chemical names imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran and acetamiprid. Repeated exposure to neonics is harmful to honey bees and repeated exposure to them will start to change a bee’s life and impact the entire colony. Science shows there are a number of different outcomes after exposure:
- Illness and death — Neonics make it hard for bees to groom themselves, making them susceptible to disease and mites, weakening their immune systems.
- Lost and confused — Neonics affect bees’ ability to navigate back to the hive. Unable to find their way home, they die. Worker bees supply the colony’s food. If they don’t come back, the entire colony can starve.
- Colony contamination — If a bee is able to return to the hive, they return covered in contaminated pollen. As other bees store the pollen, they all become contaminated.
There are many ways to get rid of weeds without using pesticides!
- Smother them with mulch.
- Dig them out (more work, but worth it in the end).
- Pour 5% vinegar over them. It’s even better mixed with salt and dish soap. Mix 1 gallon of white vinegar with 1 cup of table salt and 1 T of liquid dish soap. Spray on weeds.
- Pour boiling water on them.
- Use a flame weeder. It is a wand attached to a propane tank and you burn the weed with the flame. That’s pretty badass.
Finally, you can always choose to leave the weeds alone. Green is better than no green. After all, a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. And maybe your notion of “wrong” can change!