As you probably know, Milkweed attracts Monarch butterflies. I learned from a Silver City friend that some Home Depot stores are selling Milkweed plants treated with a systemic neonicotinoid that can kill the Monarch larva. If you see a neonic label on a Milkweed plant from a New Mexico Home Depot or any big box store, please let us know.
Here is the letter my friend forwarded from the past president of a garden club in New Orleans detailing her discovery:
I purchased a Milkweed plant from Home Depot near my home and it wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the little information stick hidden behind the identification information that the plant had been treated with systemic Neonicotinoids. The container boasted how desirable the plant is for birds and butterflies. Yesterday I went to a different Home Depot and they had just put out an entire rolling cart of these plants, maybe about 100, all poisoned. I contacted the store manager and told him that it is the same as giving poison candy to kids on Halloween. This is THE host plant for the Monarch. My club, Shady Oaks and our junior club, Little Shadows have worked so hard to establish a Monarch Waystation and to educate people on the decline of the Monarch. I hate to think of the millions of poison Milkweed being distributed nationwide by Home Depot.
The container says distributed by Home Depot, 2455 Paces Ferry Rd N. W., Atlanta , Georgia.
I contacted the LSU Ag Agent for New Orleans, Dr Joe Willis. He said the Neonicotinoids will dilute as the plants grow but that only a very small amount will kill the larva of the Monarch. He is contacting the Master Gardeners of the area. I contacted the newsletters of the Jefferson Parish Council of Garden Clubs and the Federated Council of New Orleans Garden Clubs to ask that they send a notice to our local members. I contacted a local GOA club and the president said she would inform her members. I contacted our LGCF President and our Environmental School Chairman with the information.
We need a notice to Home Depot from a national source. I contacted the Monarch Watch organization ,www.MonarchWatch.org/ws at the University of Kansas (1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045) . The Little Shadows Junior Garden Club registered our Monarch Waystation with them.
. . . .
Mary Ellen Miller
Shady Oaks Garden Club , LGCF District II
Moderator Little Shadows Junior Garden Club
Immediate Past President Federated Council of New Orleans Garden Clubs Inc.