I signed up for the Home Depot garden club just to see what's up. The latest one received was focused on edibles
with the newsletter saying, "Recent surveys reveal that homeowners are embracing edible gardening with unprecedented enthusiasm. It's not surprising—vegetable garden planning and planting is enjoyable and easy. Nothing compares to the freshness and flavor of home-grown vegetables and herbs. By harvesting your own food you can control the level of pesticides and herbicides used on them..."
To help you control those levels of pesticides Home Depot provided me with a coupon for $5 off Bayer Advanced Fruit, Citrus, and Vegetable Insect Control. Doesn't tell me much about it, but it has to be safe or the garden experts at The Depot wouldn't be offering me a coupon for it. Here is Bayer's website where the label can be viewed. Unless you know where to look the ingredient list is hard to see. I know where to look!
The active ingredient in this product is called, Imidacloprid. Here is the Wikipedia page for the insecticide. What struck me was the nature of the pesticide. According to the Wikipedia article, "is a nicotine-based, systemic insecticide, which acts as a neurotoxin and belongs to a class of chemicals called the neonicotinoids." The article continues, "Imidacloprid is one of the most widely used insecticides and can be applied by soil injection, tree injection, or broadcast foliar or ground application as a granular or liquid formulation or as a pesticide-coated seed treatment."
Here is the part that really got my attention, "Imidacloprid is a systemic chloronicotinyl pesticide, belonging to the class of neonicotinoid insecticides. It acts as a neurotoxin and interferes with the transmission of nerve impulses in insects by binding to specific nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. As a systemic pesticide, imidacloprid translocates or moves from the soil into the leaves, pollen, and nectar of the plant."
This stuff is trans-located from the soil, and moves through the plant systemically. It's inside the vegetables you will be eating! It is also in the pollen of the plants. Since it's systemic any animal, including honeybees, will pick up the poison. Oh, did we mention that the active ingredient, "is receiving increased attention as a possible factor in colony collapse disorder, a mysterious condition that causes sudden death of honey bee populations"?
I would love to hear from an expert on how long it takes the pesticide to leave the plant. You apply this to lettuce. How long before there is no measure of pesticide left in the parts we eat? I really don't know. I can't imagine applying a systemic insecticide on plants we are going to eat. Apparently they use it on commercial crops of lettuce and other plants. Why am I even growing my own vegetables? So I can fill them with this stuff?
I am open minded. After being in the nursery business for over 30 years you think you have heard it all. People grow vegetables for a variety of reasons, and what they put on them is up to them. The problem is, people new to vegetable gardening assume the place where they buy those plants would know what's safe to use on edibles. Home Depot makes a point how they sell Bonnie grown vegetables, with no GMO's. What's the point if your going to load them up with a systemic, synthetic pesticide? Again, how knowledgeable is the first time gardener or employee in the garden department of Home Depot? Should you trust you families health and well being on a $5 off coupon for systemic insecticide for you herbs and vegetables?