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Bee hazard icon, labels help protect pollinators
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Chemical companies have added a new bee hazard icon on labels of certain insecticides to protect pollinators from chemicals hazardous to their health.
Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the icon and the accompanying pollinator protection box are required on labels of systemic insecticides that contain imidacloprid, dinotefuran or thiamethoxam or clothiandin.
“These systemic insecticides are widely used, both by homeowners and commercial applicators, to control sucking insect pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, scale insects and other pests,” Layton said. “These are some of our most effective insecticides for controlling some of our most problematic insect pests.”
The new bee hazard icon and accompanying information are designed to allow the chemicals to be used against pests while protecting pollinators from exposure.
“These chemicals should not be sprayed on plants that are blooming and attracting bees,” Layton said.
Not all products that are harmful to bees are marked with this new, showy icon.
“Most insecticides can be hazardous to bees and other pollinators, and labels carry explicit pollinator protection instructions and requirements,” he said. “Consumers should know that just because a product does not bear this icon does not mean there are no label restrictions for protecting pollinators. Before applying any pesticide, always carefully read the product label and apply according to label instructions.”