One eco-conscious gardener faced a devastating setback when, according to them, a neighbor applied an insecticide to their yard without warning.
This gardener said they were a tenant in a small cottage. “I asked if I could do gardening before I signed the lease and was told I could do whatever,” they said. So they poured years into a garden designed specifically to attract pollinators.
Pollinators are creatures, often insects or small birds like hummingbirds, that carry pollen from one flower to another. This allows the flowers to mature and produce seeds. A huge number of flowering plants can’t produce seeds without pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Since many pollinator species are threatened by the loss of their habitats, the arrival of invasive plants and animals, and the use of pesticides, some gardeners like to plant pollinator-friendly plants that attract and feed these beneficial creatures. The original poster is one of them.
But their neighbor didn’t get the memo. “I share a yard with another tenant,” they said. “After years of trying to plant pollinator plants and then switch to native pollinator plants … today they put pesticides everywhere. When I inquired about this I was told ‘it’s only for ticks, fleas, and weeds.. we didn’t hurt your flowers.’”
“I said ‘but my flowers are for beneficial insects, they are FOR bugs,’” the original poster said. “No one seemed to understand or take me seriously.”
The desperate gardener came to r/NativePlantGardening for advice. “Is everything I’ve done basically ruined now?” they asked.
Sadly, commenters weren’t hopeful. “I would be willing to bet any flea/tick treatment is pyrethrin or similar and that will kill pretty much all insects,” said one user.
“And worms!” added another commenter.
“And they’re not good for humans and if I remember correctly deadly for cats,” the first commenter replied.
Aside from creating an unhealthy situation for the gardener and any pets, the neighbor did more harm to the garden than they realized. Earthworms are instrumental in maintaining and improving soil quality, so an insecticide that might harm the worms will also impact the plants. Plus, any self-seeding annuals will be wiped out with their pollinators since they won’t drop seeds.
“I’m so upset,” said the original poster in a comment. “I go outside at lunch and take pics and videos of my garden insects; it’s like they just crapped on my passion project.”
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