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A Note on Neonicotinoids from Gary Pahl

by | Mar 22, 2014 | Market News

Pahl Farms and Pahl’s Market are sustainable organizations for the past 5 generations. There has been a lot of interest in neonicotinoids these past few years. The pesticide is considered to be highly toxic to bees and people are concerned about the demise of the honey bee. At Pahl Farms and Pahl’s Market we are bee friendly. We do not use any neonicotinoids on any nectar producing plants or vegetables. Our beekeeper is a strong proponent on having a healthy environment for his bees. We generally have 150 hives spread out in our fields to help pollinate our crops. Not only do we use bees but we also use beneficial insects to help combat the problem pests. By being sustainable we focus on the health of our plants, soils, environment and most important our customers.

Sustainable agriculture is a key to our success in being environmental friendly yet providing a great product at a reasonable price. We consistently scout our greenhouses and fields twice weekly and determine the thresholds of the targeted pests before we apply any pesticides and when we do apply pesticides we apply them at a minimal rate that is still effective. We are strong proponents of safety for our consumers and the environment, Pahl Farms is currently USDA Harmonized GAP certified and Food Alliance Certified.

Nicotine pesticides have been around for 100 years and have been used in pest reduction successfully for the same time frame. Neonicotinoids were introduced in 1992 and are a synthetic version of nicotine and its mode of action is modeled after the natural insectide nicotine. They affect the central nervous system of the insect which eventually leads to paralysis and then death. They are most effective on sucking insects, chewing insects like beetles and very effective on cutworms. This is why a lot of field corn GMO seed is now produced in this country. There is only a small percentage of vegetable seed used in this country that is GMO seed and that is mostly concentrated in sweet corn production that is used in the southern states. What we produce here at Pahl Farms is non GMO vegetables which is what 99 percent of the vegetable growers in the state use. Neonicotinoids have not been a proven detriment to the demise of the honeybee population. The largest problem came a few years back in California where 80 percent of the honeybees in this country are used to pollinate the almond trees and the colonies were infected by mites or a fly where they lay their eggs inside the skin of the bee and when they become infected they take off from the hive in the middle of the night never to come back. This mite later to be named the zombie fly led to colony collapse of bee hives and is not a native species to the United States and they have yet to find a solution to the problem.

What can we do to promote a habitat that produces a healthy honeybee? Plant clover and let your grass get longer before you mow. Clover will attract honeybees better than any plant out there and the bees love it!

 

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1 Comment

  1. Diane Patty

    Thank you for using NON GMO seeds for your vegetables. I love your sweet corn, and had been concerned about it possibly being GMO, as so much sweet corn introduced into the market is now GMO. I will continue to buy your vegetables that I don’t grow myself, and lots of your sweet corn, as long as you continue to grow NON GMO! Thank you!

    Reply

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