Many of us are familiar with Miracle Gro, a plant-food and lawn-care brand that lines the shelves of most gardening stores across the U.S. While these products can be helpful to plants, unfortunately, certain pesticides used in some products may harm the very insects our ecosystem needs in order to survive.

Luckily, Miracle Gro’s parent company, Ortho, just made a major announcement that is will move away from the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides. Moreover, they’ve partnered with the Pollinator Stewardship Council to “help educate homeowners on the safe and appropriate use of pesticides,” according to a statement. By 2017, the brand plans to completely eliminate the use of neonic active ingredients such as Imidacloprid, Clothianidin, and Dinotefuran. You don’t have to be a chemist to know that those pesticides sounds pretty scary.

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This is a huge victory, considering these pervasive killers are believed to damage the immune systems of bees, rendering them unusually susceptible to disease. Neonicotinoids currently threaten pollinator numbers all over the globe, and a result threaten both natural and agricultural vegetation everywhere. This announcement comes at a time that’s more urgent than ever, considering bee populations are plummeting at an alarming rate. In some places, the Bee Information Partnership records colony losses as high as 60 percent!

It’s far past time for us all to stand up for the bees. Just consider this, these tiny insects are responsible for pollinating an estimated 80 percent of food in grocery stores. Without them, crops such as apples, asparagus, avocados, blueberries, broccoli, celery, cherries, citrus crops, cranberries, cucumber, kiwis, and melons, just to name a few, wouldn’t be available.

“This decision comes after careful consideration regarding the range of possible threats to honey bees and other pollinators,” said Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand. “While agencies in the United States are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it’s time for Ortho to move on. As the category leader, it is our responsibility to provide consumers with effective solutions that they know are safe for their family and the environment when used as directed. We encourage other companies and brands in the consumer pest control category to follow our lead.”

As an industry leader, Ortho’s move signals an increased consciousness regarding the survival of the bees. People are tuning into how important it is that we protect these vital insects – now, it’s time for other companies to follow suit.

Featured Image Source: Creative Commons