Local nurseries striving to 'bee friendly' - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Local nurseries striving to 'bee friendly'

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- One Rochester nursery is making it its mission to help fight against the declining bee population, one flower pot at a time.

This spring, Sargent's Landscape Nursery is eliminating the use and sale of neonicotinoids -- a pesticide commonly used by farmers, nurseries and gardeners alike.

The insecticide has been linked to the declining native and honey-bee populations, which prompted Sargent's to take action. Bees are one of the primary pollinators of perennial plants, and 95 percent of the perennials sold by Sargent's are grown there. The grower and greenery retailer has cut the pesticide not only from its own plants, but has halted the purchase of plants with neonicotinoids from other retailers.

"We need our pollinators to do all that pollinating to produce food crops and to have all the beautiful blooms that we want from apple trees to whatever," said Scott Moon of Sargent's Floral. "If we're using that kind of product, then we're sending the wrong message to our customers."

Research is still being done to determine the exact connection between neonicotinoids and the bee colony collapse, but many florists and nurseries are cutting their usage of the chemical.

People at home can also be conscious about protecting the bee population, Moon said to look at the products you buy for your gardens, and make sure that neonicotinoids are not an ingredient.

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