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Jun 21

Herbicides and Pollinators

Posted on June 21, 2022 at 4:41 PM by Alicia Doran

Won’t the herbicides harm the bees?  We receive this question from time to time and the answer is "No - not usually."

Herbicides do not generally have an acute affect on insects that live on land.  How herbicides work to control plants is based on different biochemical and different enzyme pathways than what are found in insects and animals.  

Noxious weeds out compete our native plants that support wildlife and native pollinators. The  wildlife and native pollinators need a healthy mix of native plants for food and shelter.  By controlling noxious weeds you are actually supporting pollinators by providing a more diverse plant community.

Herbicides when used to treat noxious weeds, are usually applied to plants before they flower and pollinators are not visiting the plants at that time so exposure is unlikely.

To minimize the possibility of affecting native pollinators you could plan on treating your weeds at an early stage before they flower or removing flowers from plants before you treat.  Always put the cut flowers in heavy duty plastic bags and dispose of them in the trash.