‘Bee friendly’ plants contain pesticides says study

A new study by scientists from the Universities of Sussex and Padua in Italy has highlighted that many garden plants which are marketed to the public as being ‘pollinator friendly’, may in fact contain pesticide residues which could be harmful to the insects.

In a paper published in Environmental Pollution, the researchers said, ‘These plants are often treated with pesticides during their production. There is little information on the nature of pesticide residues present at the point of purchase and whether these plants may actually pose a threat to, rather than benefit, the health of pollinating insects.

‘This study screened leaves from 29 different ‘bee-friendly’ plants for eight insecticides and 16 fungicides commonly used in ornamental production. Only two plants (a Narcissus and a Salvia variety) did not contain any pesticide.’

Although the authors admitted that, ‘The net effect on pollinators of buying plants that are a rich source of forage for them but simultaneously risk exposing them to a cocktail of pesticides is not clear,’ retailers said they were addressing the issue.

In a statement to The Independent, B&Q said, ‘All our plant ranges are grown in line with current regulations. The research referenced was carried out last year. We announced in April 2017 that our flowering plant range, available from February 2018, will be grown free from all nine neonicotinoid pesticides.’

Aldi also questioned some of the claims in the study: ‘Since October 2016, Aldi has not sold any bedding plants with neonicotinoids,’ it said in a statement. ‘“In addition, we have never sold any plants under the RHS Perfect for Pollinators programme.’

Photo Caption: Scientists claim that plants sold as being good for pollinators could actually harm them.

Photo Credit: RHS

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