A Message from the Center for Food Safety
Note: This message will bleed over the margins. Â My apologies.
New report finds many â€œbee-friendlyâ€ plants sold at leading garden centers like Lowe’s and Home Depot have been pre-treated with bee-toxic pesticides, with no warning to consumers. Take action now!
August 16th was National Honey Bee Day,* and the bees need our help.
Bees are essential for one out of every three bites of food we eat.Â But they are being wiped out by the indiscriminant use of bee-toxic pesticides, most commonly neonicotinoids, or â€œneonics.â€ These neonics are everywhere — in commercial agriculture, on the shelf of your local garden stores, and as it turns out — even in the supposed â€˜pollinator-friendlyâ€™ plants and seeds we buy from nurseries.
In addition to the many bee-toxic pesticides on the shelves of our local home and garden stores, many â€œbee friendlyâ€ home garden plants sold at Home Depot, Loweâ€™s, and other leading garden centers have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees, according to a new, first-of-its-kind pilot study released this week.
The widespread agricultural use of neonicotinoids is a common exposure pathway for bees; however, cosmetic use of these pesticides in gardens, lawns, and landscapes may be an important contributing factor in declining bee and wild pollinator health. Many of the â€œbee-friendlyâ€ seedlings and plants sold to unsuspecting consumers in nurseries and garden stores across the U.S. have been pre-treated with neonicotinoids at much higher doses than are used in agricultural operations These nursery plants carry neither a list of pesticides used, nor do they carry a warning that these pre-treated plants could harm pollinators. Many consumers may be purchasing plants with the intention of attracting bees and providing them forage, with no idea that these plants could actually be harming them!
But we can take action to fix this by demanding that Home Depot and Lowes stop selling pre-poisoned plants, seeds, and pesticides that harm bees. Leading home and garden stores in Europe have already taken neonics off the shelvesâ€“itâ€™s time for Home Depot and Loweâ€™s to do the same.
A growing body of science has implicated neonics as a key factor in recent global bee die-offs. Beekeepers across the country reported losses of 40-90 percent of their bees last winter. The European Union is set to suspend the use of three neonic pesticides in December after a scientific review by European Food Safety Authority found that neonics pose an unacceptably high risk to bees . Here in the U.S., 50,000 bumblebees died in a Target parking lot in June in Wilsonville, OR when a neonic pesticide was applied to nearby trees for a purely cosmetic purpose . In July, 37 million honey bees were reported dead across a single farm in Ontario from the dust associated with planting neonic-treated corn seeds .
While neonics may not be the only factor in bee die offs, they are a significant factor, and one that we can do something about.
Do something good for the bees for National Honey Bee Day. Tell Home Depot and Loweâ€™s to rid their stores of bee-toxic pesticides, seeds and garden plants!
*For more information on National Honey Bee Day go to: http://www.nationalhoneybeeday.com/
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P.S. Just watched a wonderful video from www.TED.com sent by my extended family member, Ignacio. It is called the Beauty of Pollination and shows birds, bees, butterflies and bats pollinating flowers for our benefit. Here is the You Tube link: