Although it may not feel like it in some areas, spring is slowly returning to Canada. And for us, the warmer temperatures mean our thoughts turn to bees and gardens.
Two-thirds of the food crops people eat everyday require bees and other pollinators to successfully produce a crop. However, populations of honeybees, bumble bees, and other pollinators are dwindling worldwide.
A strong and growing body of scientific evidence has shown that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides are a major contributing factor to bee die-offs. These pesticides are absorbed into plant tissues, including stems, flowers, pollen and nectar.
Neonicotinoids aren’t just used in agriculture- many plants sold at home garden centres have also been pre-treated with these bee-killing pesticides.
Friends of the Earth has prepared a report that all bee-friendly gardeners should read. Gardeners Beware 2014 has found that more than half of garden plants sampled in the U.S and Canada contain levels of neonicotinoid pesticides harmful to bees.
- 51% of the garden plant samples collected across 18 cities in Canada and the U.S. were found to contain neonicotinoid pesticides.
- 40% of the positive samples contained two or more neonicotinoid pesticides.
- 60% of the Canadian samples tested positive for neonics, and 100% of the samples collected in London, Ontario contained at least one neonicotinoid.
Read more or download the full report on their website.
In addition to pesticides, look for and don’t buy hybrid plants. These are designed to bloom longer and be pleasing to the human eye, but they have no nectar or pollen to feed the bees.