Concern over the toxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to bees is leading to changes in labeling and garden plant production. Neonicotinoids are effective against greenhouse pests such as whiteflies and thrips that can severely damage pests. Neonicotinoids, applied to soil, are taken up by the roots of plants, circulate throughout the plant and provide long term protection against pests. However, neonicotinoids can also find their way into nectar and pollen that is collected by bees. Gardeners who want plants that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators do not want plants that are potentially toxic to these insects.
Due to public pressure and concern about honey bees, many large retailers of plants now label the plants they sell with the pesticide treatments they have received. These retailers are working with growers with a goal to eliminate all neonicotinoid treatments before the end of the decade.