The assumption by regulators around the world that it is safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes is false, according to a chief scientific adviser to the UK government. See The Guardian newspaper report …..
Nine of the top 10 leading garden retailers and garden centres don’t want the flowering plants they sell to be grown with bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides and have told suppliers not to use them, a Friends of the Earth survey reveals.
However, one of the biggest garden retailers – Homebase – has yet to commit to working with suppliers to end the use of restricted neonicotinoids, despite being contacted by thousands of people via a Friends of the Earth online action ….
THE GOVERNMENT MUST BAN BEE-HARMING PESTICIDES AS NEW RESEARCH SHOWS RISK TO BUMBLEBEE EXTINCTION
The government must act to permanently ban bee-harming pesticides says
Friends of the Earth as new research from Royal Holloway University suggests that neonicotinoid pesticides pose a risk of bumblebee extinction.
The research showed that queen bees exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides were
26% less likely to be able to start a new colony.
Friends of the Earth is urging the UK government to back moves in the EU to
permanently extend current neonicotinoid restrictions to all crops – and
commit to keeping any ban post-Brexit.
Responding to the research, Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth nature
“This new study comes hot on the heels of the largest field trials of
neonicotinoids showing harm to honey bees and wild bees. It also follows
new evidence of how these pesticides leak into the environment and turn up in
wildflowers posing further risk to bees.
“It is clear that use of these chemicals on any crop poses a risk to bees
and other wildlife. The Government has repeatedly said it will follow the
science – how much more science does it need before it acts to protect our
“Michael Gove must put his support behind a comprehensive ban on
neonicotinoid pesticides across the EU and continue the ban in the UK
1) Bumblebees are less able to start colonies when exposed to a common
neonicotinoid pesticide, which could lead to collapses in wild bee
populations, according to new research  in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London, and the University of Guelph have found
that exposure to thiamethoxam, a common pesticide, reduced the chances of
a bumblebee queen starting a new colony by more than a quarter.
2) In June 2017 a pan-European field study was published  providing
evidence that neonicotinoids harm honeybees and wild bees. Covering a
crop area equivalent to 3,000 football pitches, it was the biggest yet
real-world study of these pesticides. Undertaken in the UK, Germany and
Hungary, the experiment found : Increasing levels of neonicotinoid
residues in the nests of wild bee species was linked with lower
reproductive success across all three countries; Exposure to treated
crops reduced overwintering success of honeybee colonies – a key
measure of year-to-year viability – in the UK and Hungary.
3) Another study  this year, carried out on corn farms in Canada, found
crops were not the main source of neonicotinoids to which bees were
exposed. Instead, the contaminated pollen came from wildflowers, as has
also been shown in the UK. Nadia Tsvetkov, at York University in Canada
and who led the research said that “This indicates that neonicotinoids,
which are water soluble, spill over from fields into the surrounding
environment, where they are taken up by other plants that are very
attractive to bees”.
Ornamental plants on sale to the public are a significant source of pesticide residues with implications for the health of pollinating insects
Lentola, A, David, A, Abdul-Sada, A, Tapparo, A, Goulson, D and Hill, E M (2017) Ornamental plants on sale to the public are a significant source of pesticide residues with implications for the health of pollinating insects. Environmental Pollution, 228. pp. 297-304. ISSN 0269-7491
Garden centres frequently market nectar- and pollen-rich ornamental plants as “pollinator-friendly”, however 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.
Using mass spectrometry analyses, this study screened leaves from 29 different ‘bee-friendly’ plants for 8 insecticides and 16 fungicides commonly used in ornamental production. Only two plants (a Narcissus and a Salvia variety) did not contain any pesticide and 23 plants contained more than one pesticide, with some species containing mixtures of 7 (Ageratum houstonianum) and 10 (Erica carnea) different agrochemicals. Neonicotinoid insecticides were detected in more than 70% of the analysed plants, and chlorpyrifos and pyrethroid insecticides were found in 10% and 7% of plants respectively. Boscalid, spiroxamine and DMI-fungicides were detected in 40% of plants.
Pollen samples collected from 18 different plants contained a total of 13 different pesticides. Systemic compounds were detected in pollen samples at similar concentrations to those in leaves. However, some contact (chlorpyrifos) and localised penetrant pesticides (iprodione, pyroclastrobin and prochloraz) were also detected in pollen, likely arising from direct contamination during spraying. The neonicotinoids thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid and the organophosphate chlorpyrifos were present in pollen at concentrations between 6.9 and 81 ng/g and at levels that overlap with those known to cause harm to bees.
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. Gardeners who wish to gain the benefits without the risks should seek uncontaminated plants by growing their own from seed, plant-swapping or by buying plants from an organic nursery.
The Guardian newspaper reports –
“Widely used insecticides damage the survival of honeybee colonies, the world’s largest ever field trial has shown for the first time, as well as harming wild bees.
The farm-based research, along with a second new study, also suggests widespread contamination of entire landscapes and a toxic “cocktail effect” from multiple pesticides.”
Join the Butterfly Conservation’s Plant a Pot for Pollinators project:-
Abergavenny Chronicle – Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Bee Friendly signs call on contractors to avoid cutting wildflower verges
“Members of Bee Friendly Monmouthshire have been out and about around Abergavenny planting signs on grass verges to discourage private contractors and council workmen from strimming wildflowers.
The signs bear the Bee Friendly symbol with the message below: ‘Do not mow while flowering’. The same signage will also be installed by Monmouthshire County Council when the urban flowers mix is sown on roundabouts.
Chairwoman of Bee Friendly Monmouthshire Cyrene Powell says the group was ‘very disheartened’ to read the recent story in the Chronicle about the destruction of a bank of wildflowers in Wern Gifford, Pandy by a county council team subcontracted to SWTRA.”
It was with considerable dismay that I read a section on Leafcutter bees contained in your article on page 41 of the Royal Horticultural Society magazine “The Garden” June 2017 entitled “Which pest is on my roses?”
Under no circumstances should leafcutter bees be classified as “pests” in a garden and should not be listed alongside aphids, sawflies and scurfy rose scale! Admittedly, within the paragraph about the bees, you stressed that they are important pollinating insects and “should be encouraged (Yes. Hoooray!) or at least tolerated (No. Totally negative!)” But I’m afraid the damage is done by even including the activities of the leafcutters under the general heading of “pests”.
My dismay was slightly tempered when I reached page 122 and read a positive description of the work of the leafcutters in Jean Vernon’s Wildlife column.
Perhaps you have never observed, with complete admiration, as I have a female leafcutter bee hard at work flying backwards and forwards to her nest ( in a bamboo tube in a bee hotel for example) carrying rolled up pieces of rose leaf to perfectly line the bamboo tube in which she lays her eggs. And finally cutting a circle of almost perfect diameter to plug the entrance hole at the front. Watch her flying head first into the tube with pollen to supply each cell and then reversing in to lay her egg before flying off for more supplies of rose leaves and pollen for the next cell. It is absolutely fascinating to watch.
These tiny insects are one of the wonders of nature and deserve our total respect. They have been on this earth for millions of years. Count yourself lucky if you find holes in your rose leaves. It means you have a healthy, thriving family of leafcutter bees somewhere nearby, indicating that your garden is well on its way to being wildlife friendly.
Secretary, Bee Friendly Monmouthshire
Reply from “The Garden” magazine:
Thank you for your concern about including the leaf-cutter bee in the June edition of The Garden under rose pests. The primary reason for including the insect in this article was because the RHS Garden Advice service regularly receives enquiries about the characteristic leaf holes caused by these useful insects (in roses and other plants). Whilst these insects should not be considered pests it is the enquirer who asks ‘what pest has caused the damage?’. Therefore it was important to include this insect under the pests section in order to inform gardeners what causes the leaf holes and that it is a useful pollinator that should be tolerated, some gardeners still consider the damage unsightly even with this information. If it had not been included in this item many gardeners may still have considered the damage to be due to a pest and swatted the bee, occasionally we receive the squashed bees in the post.
You may be interested to read our advisory profile on leaf cutter-bees https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=829
You may also be interested in this year’s RHS/Wildlife trusts Wild about Gardens campaign which is focused on wild bees, of which the leafcutters are a featured species http://wildaboutgardens.org.uk/
Bee Friendly Monmouthshire played its part in the first ever Monmouthshire Bee Festival held in the Nelson Garden in Monmouth to celebrate World Bee Day on May 20th.
Click for details:- Monmouthshire Bee Festival
Click for the:- Monmouthshire Beacon report
Where have all the flowers gone? Monmouthshire County Council and trunk road agency argue it out over who cut down roadside flowers.
Abergavenny Chronicle report:-
Regarding the wildflower cuts in Wern Gifford, Pandy last week, Bee Friendly Monmouthshire would like to express how disheartened they are. Wildflowers don’t just appear overnight and cutting them before they seed delays their growth by a few years.
As such, some beautiful wildflowers have naturally self seeded and sprung up in the verges near the new roundabouts at Llanfoist. We have put very important signs there as reminders to the contractors/council to please not cut them whilst they are flowering. We also ask the public to not take the signs – we are kindly funded by the public and not the council!