Protecting our Gardens

Why are Pollinators beneficial?

A pollinator is an animal that causes plants to make fruit or seeds.

  • 200,000+ flowering plants species depend on pollination.
  • Around 80% of the world’s crop plants depend on pollination.
  • 1/3 of US food supply requires pollination, to promote a healthy ecosystem and plant life.

The Current Pollinator Situation: Recent Decline in Pollinator Population

It has been known for some time that the population of our precious pollinators, especially the Honey Bee, has been in decline. Although we are aware of this, the cause behind the decline is complex and yet to be definitively proven. There are many contributing factors and speculation surrounding the loss of pollinators, including the Verroa mite, lack of honey bee nutrition, and Colony Collapse Disorder.

Verroa Mites are tiny parasites that latch onto and reproduce on honey bees. Nearly every beekeeper in America has experienced Verroa mites, which can be destructive for any colony. The Verroa mite is a persistent parasite that requires vigilance and great care among today's beekeepers.

In addition, to the Verroa mite, some scientists speculate that there is not as much nutrition today for the honey bees as was in the past due to reduced natural spaces caused by urbanization. With lack of nutrition, Worker bees cannot feed themselves or their colony, leading to a loss of pollinators around the country.

Another reason for the decline in pollinators is Colony Collapse Disorder due to several reasons which include, but are not limited to, the use of some pesticides, such as neonicotinoids. Colony Collapse Disorder occurs when bees can no longer find their colony or communicate properly. This can result in a larger scale pollinator population decline.

Without pollinators, plants will go without pollination/fertilization and may not be able to reproduce. Meaning not only does the decline of pollinators affect the pollinators themselves, but it affects the plants that rely on pollination and the people and animals that rely on those plants.

Neonicotinoids - What are they and how do they work?

Neonicotinoids (often referred to as "Neonics") are a class of insecticide commonly used to control a broad range of insects, including those that infest plants in your garden. Neonics are highly effective against these garden pests because they are taken up into the plant. When the insect feeds on the plant it gets a toxic dose of insecticide and dies.

Neonics were developed to more directly target unwanted pests with a lowered amount of toxicity for non-target species than an older class of insecticide chemistry called organophosphates could deliver. Neonicotinoids can typically be applied at lower concentrations to achieve effective long-term insect control. These active ingredients are currently being evaluated to determine their contribution, if any, to the decline in the health of our pollinator population due to several reasons which include, but are not limited to, the use of some pesticides, such as neonicotinoids. We've been following the conversation and have taken steps to expand our global outdoor portfolio to include products that deliver the effectiveness consumers seek, using alternative chemistries.

Ortho’s Alternative Chemistries - Consumers' Options

Ortho is committed to providing consumers with options in all its outdoor garden control products.

Ortho’s alternative chemistries differ in several ways from neonics. First, they do not persist in the plant and instead rely on an insect or disease being directly contacted in order to work. Second, because of how the products work their directions for use recommend more targeted application only when problems are observed and only on affected plants. This allows consumers to more closely target their application of pesticides and minimize exposure to beneficial pollinators. Additionally, you can time your applications to when pollinators are least active thereby reducing exposure even further.

What You Can Do to Help?

In an effort to respond to our consumer’s needs and provide effective solutions for their garden, Ortho is providing our consumers with choices in outdoor garden products. We have also partnered with pollinator friendly groups, such as Pollinator Stewardship Council, to keep us and consumers educated about the pollinator situation. We encourage you to plant your own pollinator garden to help provide habitat and nutrition for the pollinators.

You can learn more about how to build a successful pollinator garden here. In addition, you as consumers of outdoor garden controls products, must make every effort to be responsible in your application of control products by reading and following product label directions carefully in order to minimize exposure to beneficial pollinators.

Currently, 25% of consumers have seen/heard anything about the collapse of honey bee colonies and the use of insecticides.

15% of consumers have heard/seen reports linking collapsed bee colonies and neonics.

Pollinator Friendly Products

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