Our residue studies have begun! Our research teams have set up experimental plots of rhododendrons in Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, and New Jersey. In the spring, we sampled nectar and pollen from all of our flowering rhododendrons plants.

Cluster of rhododendron flowers with a pipette tip touching the middle of one flower.
Using a pipette to extract nectar from rhododendron flowers after pesticide treatment.

Since we have not yet treated the rhododendrons with any of the pesticides we are testing, this collection of samples has two purposes. First, it gives us baseline data, showing what residue levels look like before the plants are applied with our various pesticide treatments. Second, this collection of samples allows us to see whether our plant suppliers applied any of the same insecticides we are testing to the rhododendrons before shipping them to us.

We have also set up experimental plots of sunflowers in California, Connecticut, and South Carolina. Once these flower, we intend to collect pollen from these plants for pesticide residue testing.

As samples of nectar and pollen are collected across all of our experiments, we send them to our analytical chemistry lab for processing.

For more about this project, see our Bees & Plant Pests research page.

Researchers: Drs. James Bethke, JC Chong, Richard Cowles, Dave Smitley, Cristi Palmer, Daniel Potter, Nishanth Tharayil

States: CA, CT, KY, MI, NJ, SC