Reports from Friends of the Earth have confirmed a concern I have had for some years now: the issue of contamination of ‘bee friendly plants’ bought from retail outlets, being contaminated with neonicotinoids. In particular, I’ve had major concerns about Dutch bulbs, due to a Dutch documentary I saw regarding the use of neonicotinoids in their cultivation.
Two key reports:
Friends of the Earth in the USA have raised concerns about plants being cultivated using neonicotinoids. Is such cultivation using neonicotinoids happening in other countries? Here is a quote from their report, 'Gardeners Beware':
Greenpeace also conducted a study:
'A Toxic Eden: Poisons in Your Garden; An analysis of bee-harming pesticides in ornamental plants sold in Europe'.
Samples were taken
from 10 European countries: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy,
Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. Pesticides, including neonicotinoids, which have particular properties, such as being systemic and persistent in soil (read more here).
Samples from the UK were not included.
(Copy and paste this link in a new window to see the report: http://sos-bees.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/A-Toxic-Eden.pdf).
Key points from the report:
- 8% Thiamethoxam
- 7% Clothianidin.
I believe we do, for several reasons:
moratorium (note, not a ban) covered only 3 of the neonicotinoids (and
Fipronil) available to growers of garden plants. Other neonicotinoids are still on the market,
and have not as yet been examined by EFSA, such as Thiacloprid and
Acetamiprid. These are still available to gardeners also.
2. Neonicotinoids are used by growers of ornamental plants in the UK. This is confirmed by usage statistics from FERA, but note that at the time of writing, statistics are only available up to the year 2012.
Imidacloprid, now restricted from use on flowering crops, was certainly used in the cultivation of ornamental plants industry in the UK:
The two neonicotinoids, Thiacloprid
and Acetamiprid, have also been used:
My concern, then, is this:
I write this, having noted and heard in a major DIY chain, a store announcement stating that the retailer has banned 3 neonicotinoids (i.e. the ones EFSA had restricted).
Only thing is, there is no mention of the
others, which are also still sold to gardeners, and are available on the
shelves. How can we know growers won't switch to one of the other neonicotinoids?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Buy organic
(untreated) seeds (many bee-friendly plants are easily grown from seed, including, Canterbury Bells, Cornflower, Cosmos, Lupin, Linnaria, Polemonium, Poppy).
3. Share bee-friendly plants with friends and family you trust, from older, neonic-free stock
4. Buy from a local nursery. Check that they do not use neonicotinoids, including Thiacloprid and Acetamiprid.
5. Help to keep up the pressure of retailers and the government for a ban on the use of neonicotinoids.
6. Spread the word!
7. Leave out the pesticides!
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