What plants should you get
Getting flowering plants that are native to the area is great. Anital Deeley from Beverly Bees compiled a list of plants that would be good for bees and other pollinators.
Where you can get treatment-free plants
Most big companies pre-treat all their seeds and plants with neonicotinoid insecticides. Lowes has announced they’re going to shift away from them – but the process should take about four years. Here’s a list that was sent to the Boston Area Beekeepers mailing list by Pam Phillips:
- Hudson Valley Seed Library signer of the Safe Seed Pledge Certified Organic
- Seed Savers Exchange signer of the Safe Seed Pledge, all seeds on sale are untreated and non-GMO
- Maine Potato Lady certified organic potatoes, onions, garlic, and shallots.
- Harris Seed
- High Mowing 100% Organic
- Bluestone Perennials Treats their plants, but not with neonicotinoids
- From Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association – list of organic/treatment free resources
- List GMO-Free seed sources
- List of sources for Heirloom / GMO-Free / Organic seeds
- Organic Seed Finder
- List of Heirloom, Organic, and non-GMO seed suppliers by state
Using insecticides in your back yard
My best recommendation here is to not use insecticides in your back yard.
If you decided that you absolutely must use insecticides, here’s what I suggest:
- Read the label. They all say how they affect bees. Follow what the label says.
- Don’t spray any plants while they’re flowering.
- Try spraying after dark, as the bees are home by then, hopefully by the next morning the effect of the insecticide will not be as severe.
- If you are spraying during the day, inform all beekeepers in your immediate area, so they can opt to quarantine their hives (during the previous night) until spraying is done. They ought to not give you hard time about it but be thankful that you’re concerned about the well-being of their bees.