With the purpose of joining The Great Sunflower Project I sent a message to the experts at Ferry-Morse seeds to make sure the Lemon Queen sunflower seeds I planted had not been treated with insecticide.
Here’s the answer I received:
1. Plant lemon queen sunflower seeds. Please check to make sure that the seeds did not receive a neonicotinoid seed treatment.
Charlie has planted Lemon Queen sunflowers in 3 different places on our property. I made sure they have not been treated (see above).
2. Submit at least 3 pollinator counts of at least 5 minutes duration.
This should be the easy part after the flowers start to bloom. If your yard isn’t right for sunflowers you can join the project in this way.
Using the data collected by participants, the Great Sunflower Project is finding:
1. neonicotinoid pesticides decrease visitation rates by honey bees and that this decrease is not simply due to differences in land use or climate.
2. there are significant local effects of pesticide use that threaten pollination services in areas where there is substantial neonicotinoid pesticide use and that may create diminished food security for these localities.
Are our bees diminishing and can the trend be reversed? An easy project for a good cause.
Next task: Learn the difference between bees, wasps, flies. Differentiate different types of bees.
Will you count bees this summer?