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

USA:

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?  

gardeners beware - plants may be laced with neonicotinoids


Europe:


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. 

Who lobbies the EU most?  Agri business.  Source:  Corporate Europe.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.

  • The 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 residues.
  • 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 high concentrations:

             - 43% of the samples contained Imidacloprid,

               - 8% Thiamethoxam

               - 7% Clothianidin.


Actions we can take


Here are some suggestions:


  • 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.











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