Some of us in the Garden Club have become very concerned about the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on the plants we buy. Briefly, neonics are absorbed into plant tissues, nectar, and pollen, and may persist for months or even years. At high levels they kill bees, butterflies, and a host of beneficial insects that feed on plant nectar, pollen or leaves; and recent research suggests that very low sub-lethal doses may significantly impair their reproductive and behavioral health. Many nurseries use these pesticides routinely. Here are two helpful links that explain the problem:
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is at the forefront of evaluating the research; here is a link with both a summary and longer article : http://www.xerces.org/neonicotinoids-and-bees/
And here is a nice short summary: http://www.prairiemoon.com/what-are-neonicotinoids-more-detail.html.
If you share our concerns, check out our Neonic Free Buying Guide. This list shows whether local suppliers do or do not sell neonic-treated plants along with any additional information that the seller provides. The list is far from complete, so please share the results of you inquiries to improve the list. And, consumer pressure can work wonders, so the more people expressing concern, the better.