We seem to become more and more aware of the harm of pesticides to bee populations and blame this mainly on the industrial agriculture. Yet, this is not industry isn’t the only one responsible for the damage of pesticides on bees, given that the horticulture uses a large number of toxic pesticides as well. Garden centres, supermarkets and DIY-stores all over Europe, sell ornamental plants contaminated with bee-harming pesticides and are therefore major evil-doers for bees.
A study by Greenpeace revealed that out of more than 35 popular ornamental plants like lavender and viola, about 97% is contaminated with pesticides. 14% of the sample of this study even contained pesticides not authorized for use in the EU. This shows us the urgent need for a rigorous approach when it comes to improving supply chain management and tracking systems in the horticulture sector.
After multiple disclosures, thanks to Greenpeace’s investigations, garden centres like the Dutch market leader Intratuin for example, took precautions and set goals for themselves in order to ban all pesticides toxic to bees. Unfortunately very few progress seem to have been made and the number of toxic pesticides found after new investigations had barely declined.
To get rid of this major problem in the horticulture, governments, but the EU in particular in this case, should close the loopholes in the existing restrictions on imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, ban their use in greenhouses and ensure there are policies making sure that all pesticides identified as harmful are not permitted in any kind of horticulture.
This wouldn’t be a protection for the bees only, but even for the consumers who buy products at these stores and centres, since they’re unwitting accomplices in contaminating the environment with pesticides and putting bees at risk by buying flowers and plants for their gardens, perks, balconies.