Neonicotinoids In Your Bee Friendly Plants?
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.
Update: Please note, this page was written in 2014. The information may or may not be applicable today.
Two key reports, one from the USA, one from Europe:
Reports from Friends of the Earth
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?
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:
Pesticides, including neonicotinoids, which have particular properties, such as being systemic and persistent in soil.
Who lobbies the EU most? Agri business. Source: Corporate Europe.
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:
- Results were gathered from the laboratory analysis of ornamental plants sourced from
garden centres, supermarkets and DIY-stores in ten European countries.
samples comprised more than 35 popular varieties like viola, bellflower and
lavender which are attractive to bees.
- Of the 86 samples analysed, pesticide residues were found in 84
(97,6%) of these flowering plants. Only 2% of the samples contained no detectable
- Insecticides regarded as of particular toxicological significance to
bees were found frequently. In 68 of the 86 tested ornamental plants (79% of the
samples) bee-harming pesticides were detected.
- The three
neonicotinoid pesticides which have been restricted Europe-wide for certain
agricultural uses in order to prevent exposure to bees were found in almost half of
the samples, partly in
- 43% of the samples contained Imidacloprid,
- 8% Thiamethoxam
- 7% Clothianidin.
Actions we can take
Here are some
- Grow from
(untreated) seeds (many bee-friendly plants are easily grown from seed, including, Canterbury Bells, Cornflower, Cosmos, Lupin, Linnaria, Polemonium, Poppy). See bee friendly plants.
- Share bee-friendly plants with
friends and family you trust, from older, neonic-free stock
- Buy from a
local nursery. Check that they do not
use neonicotinoids, including Thiacloprid and Acetamiprid.
- Leave out the pesticides.