The Xerces Society and University of Nevada researchers recently sampled milkweeds from 33 retail nurseries across 15 states, finding an average of 12 pesticides per plant. Milkweed is the primary food for the caterpillars of monarch butterflies, which have dramatically declined and are the focus of intensive restoration efforts. This study was the first to examine pesticide residues in commercially produced nursery plants from the perspective of monarchs. Meanwhile the Pacific Northwest is facing the establishment of the emerald ash borer, an insect that has devastated ash forests across the U.S. Yet the pesticides most often used to ensure the trees’ survival are toxic to Lepidopterans (butterflies and moths). Join Sharon Selvaggio and Aaron Anderson with the Xerces Society to learn why the milkweed study findings raise concerns, what you can do to increase your probability of buying pollinator-safe plants, the risks of the insecticides used to fight EAB, and some solutions that may slow the EAB spread while minimizing harm to butterflies and other insects that use ash trees.
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