I live in So Cal. I have a huge tree in my front yard. Every year that tree ends up being home to a bazillion white fly's or aphids or some super tiny bugs, that create tiny amounts of sticky stuff. It covers the cars, it covers the sidewalk, and each year it's one of those things I want to deal with. The neighbors cars are also covered with these microscopic amounts of sticky stuff, and one day after they wash their cars, they are dirty. I feel pretty guilty about it.
My first 8 years of trying to deal with this was bug vs bug. We started with one billion lady bugs. And a few other bugs that were the natural way to combat this. ( It seemed like a billion.) This really didn't work, but year after year this was how I tried to deal with it.
Hey... What does my super natural eco friendly tree Dr. say ?
Bayer's has this spray that can go onto the tree's leaves, or I can just pour it into the soil before the leaves appear.
"Bayer's" ? I had some follow up questions for Mr. Eco Friendly tree Dr.
I am so not the science guy, or a botanist, but I do have a few pet scrub jays, and I think twice about how I could indirectly poison them. ( These are wild birds that hang out with me, not caged.) Talk about wild, they come to my hand if I call them.
It 's all about the peanut of course, but still, pretty cool to have a few wild birds as pets. So yes, I worry about them too.
So, with my limited gardening experience, and my limited time to get into how to deal with the sticky poop from the tiny bugs, I call someone who is a Tree Dr. He only deals with tree issues. He is expensive. He is overwhelming with information, and seems to know everything about trees, bugs, plants....
So, after years of this white fly / sticky poop problem, I ask him what the best plan is, and I would like to avoid chemicals that would have a connection to other bugs/ birds/cats/ in the chemical chain of effects.
We have praying mantis eggs all over the place, and the last thing I want to do is poison the baby praying mantisisses or the lady bugs..
He decides the best way to deal with this is a spray from Bayer.
(Imidacloprid is a trademarked chemical manufactured by Bayer)
I was confused about this, and asked him two or three times, and ways about how this might effect other bugs, and what about the bees ? He insisted this was safe, and isolated to just the white flys. He was ready to try this before the new leaves appeared. I had about a month to think this over. Again this was about two years ago. I went to a super upscale nursery that deals primarily with drought tolerant indigenous plants, and ran the whole story by one expert. He said I should use the Bayer's spray also. He thought that in a small isolated case, It would be ok. I asked about the bees. He said from what he knows, the treatment only harms white flies.
OK. Now I have two super smart, tree Doctors convincing me this is safe.
I decide to spend some time on the interwebs, and see what I can find. It did not take long to discover that a couple of farmers in England have been using the Bayer spray (neonicotinoid imidacloprid) or neonicotinoid pesticides and he noticed his bees were disapearing. Same thing in Ireland. Farmer using the Bayer spray on his crops, noticed his bees disappearing. These two were the first of many farmers insisting that their bees were dying, or disappearing since they st arted using the Bayer sprays.
They both had the same story. When they announced their findings to other farmers, and local authorities, they were pounced on by Bayer, and when studies were requested to get to the bottom of this, all of the expensive studies concluded that the Bayer pesticides had nothing to do with the bee's. One of the farmers could not believe this, and found out the studies were conducted by Bayer. He started to contact other farmers, and figured out that Bee Colony Collapse Disorder was caused by the neonicotinoid pesticides. And that Bayer was spending millions on creating confusing studies to create confusion. Not unlike the "scientists" who belong to religious institutes who feel global warming needs more studies.
I was sold that these farmers nailed it, and that Bayer had millions of dollars to spend on a campaign to protect their pestisides.
So, two years ago, I shared my findings with Mr. Natural botanist and my drought tolerant indigenous nursery peeps. I was thinking they would be all "Wow, that's amazing, and thank you for looking into this" Nope. They said "There were several studies conducted and each one found that Bayer pesticides had nothing to do with the bees. I asked them that if they found out that the studies were done by Bayer would that change their opinion ? I just got a Luke warm, "possibly"
So, today. Mother Jones put out a story on Bayer, and Bee Colony Collapse Disorder .
and guess what ? The pesticides that Bayer produces are now looking like the cause of bee colony collapse disorder.
Finally. I think the small farmer in England, and that small farmer in Ireland are going to take a deep breath, and find out that the bees might actually have a fighting chance after all.
I hope this 2012 study gets some attention.
I still have sticky white fly poop, but I did not add to the larger problem of the bees not finding their way home due to pesticides.
Thousands and Thousands of acre's of Corn crops are about to start spraying neonicotinoid pesticides that will harm more bees. If you know a farmer, or his daughter send them the Mother Jones link. Even farmers know without the bee's they be screwed.
No berry pie, if no bees. I love berry pie.