There has been a lot of conversation recently about big-box stores selling plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids, systemic pesticides implicated in honeybee die-offs. I went to one such store this week and was given the name of the live goods buyer in the seasonal hardware department, the individual responsible for procuring plants for many stores in the chain. I specifically asked the buyer whether the plants were treated with neonicotinoids and received this noncommittal response: “Our growers follow all the recommended methods and controls for producing the healthiest plants possible. All federal, state and local guidelines are taken into account in the growers’ operations. All plants are labeled in accordance with federal guidelines as to where they are produced and by which grower.”

It is time for the Minnesota Legislature to step up and pass pending bills (HF 2908 and SF 2727) requiring plant labels to identify neonicotinoid usage, and for the growers and buyers to give meaningful responses to consumers, not this rope-a-dope nonsense that I received.

Susan Barrett, South St. Paul