Knowing that many seeds these days are treated with neonics , I'm
wondering if that stuff is also present in the plants grown from seeds from
the original plant . And how many generations does it persist if in fact it
does . I like to save my seeds because I believe that seeds from a plant
grown here will be more acclimatized to this area . Second and 3rd gen seeds
even more so ...
As far as I know, the biggest problem with seeds treated with neonicotinoids
is in large scale agriculture, because of the amount of dust released when the
seeds are handled and planted.
The amount of the chemical in a single seed vs. the whole plant that grows
from it and the fruit and seeds of that plant is not something a home
gardener need worry much about. You take bigger risks each day walking
through your house and out to the garden, driving a car, or crossing a street
My concern is not for me , but for the bees ... we have one hive so far ,
but it'll be split in the spring <assuming it is strong enough> and our goal
is 5-8 hives total . Fortunately there is very little monocropping in our
area , no soybeans , rice , etc .
No. The problem with insecticides is when they get into the environment in
sufficient quantity to be ingested by beneficial organisms, such as bees,
and so to kill or damage them . This cannot happen here. The whole idea of
'organic' seeds is rather religous muddy thinking to me.
And how many generations does it
Neither individual seeds nor plants acclimatise in a way that is transmitted
to their offspring (this is the discredited Lamarkism). However, if you
always breed from those that perform best in your conditions you can gain an
advantage because you are then altering the composition of the gene pool in
a way that future generations will suit the conditions (this is Darwinian
selection). In enough generations you could form your own cultivar. This
has been the basis of selective plant breeding for thousands of years even
before people understood how it worked.
You mentioned seed saving, so I figured you were concerned for yourself.
The big risk to bees from treated seeds is due to the dust generated
spreading to bee forage nearby and actual applications of neonics in
quantity to plants, particularly orchards (as a control for beetles that attack
fruit) and lawns (to control grubs). It's also used to inject landscape trees
(the only actual verified control for emerald ash borer, for example).
If your neighbors' are treating for grubs, that might be an issue, particularly
if their lawns contain white clover or they have extensive flower gardens that
could have taken up the grub control.
The thing is, the neonicotinoids act systemically and are thus protected
from degredation by being inside plant tissue. They were designed to
be taken up by plants and have a fairly long half-life in soil.
OTOH, persistence from a few plants grown from treated seeds, especially
in saved seeds through several generations, would not be a problem.
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