Neonicotinoid pesticides taken off the shelves…
Bee numbers have been in serious decline for some time now and neonicotinoid pesticides are thought to have contributed to the worldwide fall in numbers.
According to recent news reports, 5 more major garden centres have agreed to stop selling products containing neonicotinoids. This brings the total of retailers removing these insecticides from their shelves to 8 and includes B&Q, Wickes, Homebase and Notcutts.
Following extensive research into the effect of neonicotinoids on bee populations, the EU has proposed a 2-year ban on the use of the pesticides on flowering crops across the continent. However, the UK government is openly opposed to the ban, claiming that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that the chemicals are to blame.
But it’s not all good news for bees – Asian hornets, 3cm long beasts that prey on bees, are set to invade Britain. Native pollinators including honeybees and wasps are at risk from these hornets, which pose a threat to honey and crop production and have the potential to devastate hives.
You can help bees in your own garden, by growing bee-friendly flowers that will give them a year-round supply of food. You can also build a simple bee house out of old flower pots and bamboo canes. Click here to read our article on saving bees.
Also in the news this week, clopyralid (found in some weedkillers) has been found to remain in compost and and cause damage to garden vegetables. The use of clopyralid is banned in many US states, but is still available to amateur gardeners in the UK, in the form of weedkillers such as LawnClear 2 and Verdone Extra. The main concern with using these weedkillers is that gardeners are then adding treated grass clippings to their compost, which in turn gets used on vegetables. Clopyralid remains active for many years and can severely damage crops, even in small quantities. Tomatoes, peas, sunflowers, potatoes lettuce and spinach are particularly susceptible. The fear is also that it could endanger the status of any organic farms using contaminated manure or compost.