Protecting your garden from bee-killing pesticides
Did you enjoy your garden in bloom over the Canada Day holiday? Did you plant your garden to provide habitat for bees and other pollinators? Now you might look at those blooms with new eyes.
Friends of the Earth tested nursery plants in 18 cities in North America and found Neonicotinoid pesticides (neonic) in more than 50% of the plants. These are plants known to be and promoted as “bee-friendly” for example; Salvia, Gerbera Daisies and Shasta Daisies to name a few.
Friends of the Earth’s testing results suggest that neonic contamination of supposedly bee-friendly plants is a widespread problem in Canada and the U.S.A.
If you bought from an organic nursery, don’t worry. There would be no neonics used in preparing the nursery plants. If you bought anywhere else, there is no way to know if your plants may be harming bees.
Depending on your level of outrage that plants you bought to provide bees a sanctuary may actually be killing them, here’s what you can do.
- If you bought plants from a big box store, dig them up and take them back. Big box stores have one year guarantees on their plants. Tell them you’re not confident the plants are bee friendly and you want your money back. Please, do let us know how they respond to this guarantee.
- You can cut off the flowers so no bees or other pollinators can access the pollen and nectar and reduce exposure to neonics, but of course this eliminates much of the plants’ appeal. Or you can carefully cover the flowers with fine netting – like that used on wedding veils – so that pollinators cannot access the flowers.
- You can go to plant exchanges with gardeners who can tell you what they’ve grown and start to raise more of your own plants from seeds.
I know this is not good news and a lot of work too, but next time you buy plants, ASK the store if the flowers are guaranteed neonic free? If they don’t know, don’t buy.