How to protect and increase pollinators in your landscape

“Protecting and enhancing pollinators in urban landscapes for the US North Central Region” provides information for landscapers and gardeners who want to attract pollinators and protect them during pest management tactics or pesticide applications.

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For the past 30 years or more, most tree care professionals, landscapers, urban foresters and many informed property owners have been managing destructive insects by minimizing pesticide use and encouraging predators and parasites that naturally keep pests under control. This approach is referred to as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and it includes using Best Management Practices (BMP) for preserving beneficial insects. In most states, landscape professionals must attend educational classes on pesticide safety and best management practices to receive their pesticide applicator license, a requirement for purchasing restricted use pesticides. Minimizing pesticide use along with implementing other IPM practices protects water resources from pesticide runoff, minimizes the exposure of people, pets and wildlife to pesticides, and provides stable long-term pest control instead of the frequent boom and bust pest cycles associated with preventive use of broad-spectrum pesticides.

The primary reason tree care professionals and property owners use pesticides is because of the devastating impact of invasive pests from Europe and Asia. Invasive pests multiply and sometimes completely destroy species of North American plants for two reasons: (1) our North American plants may lack natural defenses (resistance) to invasive pests from Europe or Asia, and (2) invasive pests populations may build rapidly because we do not have the right predators and parasitoids to control them as in their native habitat.

Emerald ash borer, Japanese beetle and hemlock wooly adelgid are currently some of our most destructive invasive insects. Homeowners, business property owners and cities sometimes choose to use a pesticide to protect roses, ash, hemlock and other trees and shrubs susceptible to invasive insects. However, when insecticides are used for invasive pests, they may impact pollinators and other beneficial insects and mites, including predators and parasitoids that keep plant pests under control. This publication is designed to provide best management practices for protecting a few valuable plants from invasive pests while minimizing the impact on pollinators and beneficial insects. Note: When using any pesticide mentioned in this bulletin, read the label instructions and be sure the product is registered for use in the state where it is being used.

This resource was updated April 13, 2016.

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