Today’s NYT: “Mystery Malady Kills More Bees."  Had to write this letter to the editor!

Regarding: “Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms,”  I’m afraid that there isn’t much mystery in this “mystery.”  Broad spectrum pesticides, whether synthetic or organic, take their toll not only on European honey bees, but on countless other beneficial insects, including 4,000 species of native bees in the U.S.  It doesn’t stop there, as insects are just part of an overall food web, a complex system of living things eating other living things.  Approximately 96% of terrestrial birds feed insects to their young.  The simple act of applying an herbicide to kill lawn weeds also poisons insects which birds then feed to their young, endangering the health and survival of those chicks and any higher level predators which subsequently eat them.  The food web becomes a poisoned web.  Rachel Carson warned us about pesticides 50 years ago in Silent Spring.  We need to start listening. 

Sincerely yours,

Kim Eierman
Environmental Horticulturist
Founder, EcoBeneficial!

Photo: Native bee approaching a Redbud (Cercis spp)
Photo credit: Flickr/JDM

Helping Bees in Crisis: 7 Steps to Creating a Bee-Friendly Landscape.

The European Honey Bee and our 4,000 species of native bees in the U.S. have suffered dramatic losses to their populations due to a combination of many factors. Since bees pollinate a significant portion of our food crops, this is a problem that affects all of us. Without bee pollination services, many of our common fruits, nuts and vegetables would no longer be available.

Most of our suburban and urban landscapes offer little in the way of nectar and pollen sources which bees depend upon. To make things worse, our frequent use of pesticides, including seemingly benign lawn care products, is devastating to bees. Here are 7 tips on how you can help bees on your own property while maintaining a beautiful landscape:

1) Include a significant number of trees and shrubs in your landscape – bees need them.

2) Avoid planting double-flowered plants which have little, or no, nectar and pollen.

3) Use a diversity of plant species with a succession of bloom from early spring through fall.

4) Reduce or eliminate your lawn in favor of flowering plants (perennials, trees and shrubs).

5) Eliminate synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides (together known as “pesticides”).

6) Support our 4000 species native bees by emphasizing regionally native plants.

7) Provide nesting sites for native bees in your landscape.

For more information on this topic see the latest blog post on

Support bees by creating a “bee-friendly” landscape this spring!
from Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!

Photo: Bee on Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum species)
Photo credit: Flickr_jbaker5


Check out my interview with C. Colston Burrell, author, lecturer, landscape designer, and native landscape expert, on video or podcast.


Which experts do you want to hear?  Let me know and I’ll try to interview them!

From Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!