Give Now

Bad For Bees

Some of the plants we buy for our gardens are pretreated with neonicotinoid pesticides that are harmful to bees.

bee dance

Photo: Bob Peterson (Wikimedia Commons)

This honey bee is so thrilled with a tasty wildflower that she performed a happy dance.

Bees pollinate two thirds of the plants that produce our food, as well as most of the plants that we grow just for their flowers.

However, some of the plants we buy for our gardens are pretreated with neonicotinoid pesticides that are harmful to bees. In fact, it has been reported by Friends of the Earth (2014) in an article by Brown, Kegley, Finck-Haynes and Olivastri that there is widespread use of bee-toxic pesticides across the U.S. and Canada, although Europe has banned this practice.

The article states that home gardeners have no idea that they may actually be poisoning pollinators. The study sampled plants obtained from major nursery outlets in four geographic regions of the U.S. as well as three provinces of Canada. The samples were submitted to an independent, accredited analytical laboratory to identify specific neonicotinoids and quantify their concentrations in the flowers alone, versus the stems and leaves of the plants.

Fifty-one percent of the plants that were tested contained “neonic”residues. So, we all run the risk of buying contaminated plants.

Oregon has passed a bill, (February 2014), to address this, and some other states (including Minnesota, California, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Alaska and New York) are also taking steps to do the same.

Canada is seeking to provide financial assistance to beekeepers.

Meanwhile all gardeners should ask questions at the places where we usually buy our plants.

Pesticides are suspected to be involved in bee colony collapse disorder.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Focus on Flowers:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Focus on Flowers

About The Host

Search Focus on Flowers

Focus on Flowers on Flickr