How Your Bee-Friendly Garden May Actually Be Killing Bees
Even as they try to help the bees, people may inadvertently poison them by planting pesticide-laden plants purchased from big-box garden centers, suggests a new report.
More than half of ostensibly bee-friendly plants sampled at 18 Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart garden centers in the U.S. and Canada contained high levels of neonicotinoids, which are considered highly toxic to bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators.
Even when they don’t kill pollinators outright, neonicotinoids can impair their immune systems and sense of navigation, potentially turning gardens and backyards into flowery traps.
“That’s what we’re concerned about,” said Tim Brown, a chemist at the Pesticide Research Institute, a pesticide consulting company. “People are being encouraged to help the bees out, and unfortunately what we found is that sometimes these flowers are contaminated at pretty high levels.”
The report, released June 25 by the Pesticide Research Institute and Friends of the Earth, an environmental group, is one of the most comprehensive investigations yet of an often-overlooked source of neonicotinoids in the environment: gardens and the built landscape.
Images: Gardeners Beware