Boulder Neighborhood State's First to be declared 'bee-safe'

Daily Camera   By Charlie Brennan   June 14, 2014

The Melody-Catalpa neighborhood of Boulder is proudly wearing the mantle of the first "bee-safe" locality in Colorado.

It may not be a title for which there was fierce competition, but those in the roughly 200 households of the north Boulder neighborhood who signed a pledge not to use neonicotinoids or similar systemic pesticides are buzzing with excitement over earning the distinction.

Three neighborhood residents earlier this year banded together to sign on about 20 volunteers to go door to door. And, faster than they'd dared hope, they convinced more than half of the area's 389 households to sign a pledge not to use neuroactive chemicals that many believe are contributing to the colony collapse phenomenon reported in global honeybee populations.

Those doing so were awarded green flags, signifying their commitment, to plant in their front lawns. Some homes there have not yet been contacted by the volunteers, but will be.

"We felt really good about it," said Anne Bliss, one of the three organizers and a resident of the 3500 block of Catalpa Way. "We thought we would finish this by the end of May, and we more than had our goal really quickly. It took us a couple weeks."

Molly Greacen, another of the drivers behind the Melody-Catalpa bee-safe initiative, said, "The real concern is that if we can get lots of other people to get excited about this idea, then all of Boulder can become bee-safe."


Protecting the bees

Avoid neonicotinoids: Look at labels for imidacloprid, acetamiprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

Ask garden center employees if plants for sale were treated with neonicotinoids.

Ask your city or park district to use alternatives to neonicotinoids on plants that are bee-visited or bee-pollinated.

Create havens: Form patches of pesticide-free, pollinator-friendly flowers in your garden or neighborhood.

Source: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation