Gardeners tell Lowe’s: Don’t be a “little shop of horrors” for bees

Posted By: Friends of the Earth Canada Comments Off on Gardeners tell Lowe’s: Don’t be a “little shop of horrors” for bees

More than a million people ask Lowe’s to stop selling bee-killing pesticides

For Immediate Release:

October 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—This week, more than 30,000 people across the U.S. and Canada will swarm Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) stores to ask the retailer to not be a “little shop of horrors” for bees and take bee-killing pesticides off its shelves. Friends of the Earth and allies will also deliver more than one million petition signatures asking Lowe’s to give bees treats, not tricks and eliminate products and plants pre-treated with bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. Larger events are planned at Lowe’s stores near Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia, Windsor, Canada and Ottawa, Canada.

These actions are part of an international campaign asking retailers to stop selling neonicotinoids — the most widely used class of pesticides in the world — due to a growing body of science indicating that they are a leading cause of bee declines across the globe. A study released in June revealed that “bee-friendly” garden plants sold at Lowe’s and other retailers contain these bee-killing pesticides, with no warning to consumers.

“The science is clear: neonicotinoid pesticides are a key contributor to bee declines and are harming birds, butterflies and other organisms essential for healthy ecosystems and food production,” said Friends of the Earth Food futures campaigner Tiffany Finck-Haynes. “More than a million people are calling on Lowe’s to do the right thing and take bee-killing pesticides off its shelves for the sake of bees and our food supply.”

In the face of mounting evidence and growing consumer demand, more than a dozen nurseries, landscaping companies and retailers across the U.S., including BJ’s Wholesale Club (NYSE:  BJ), have taken steps to eliminate bee-harming pesticides from their stores. The UK’s top garden retailers, including Homebase, B & Q, and Wickes, voluntarily stopped selling neonicotinoids. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) The world’s largest home improvement retailer will require its suppliers to label all plants treated with neonicotinoid pesticides by the fourth quarter of 2014 and is working with its suppliers to “find alternative insecticides for protecting live goods and bees.” Last week, Whole Foods (NASDAQ: WFM) issued a new product rating system, which identifies pollinator protection as a priority by restricting neonicotinoid pesticides.

“It’s time for Lowe’s to join its competitors and make a meaningful commitment to get bee-killing pesticides off its shelves,” said Lisa Archer, Food and technology program director at Friends of the Earth. “In the meantime, gardeners should plant untreated seeds or choose organic plants for their gardens.”

Bees and other pollinators, essential for the two-thirds of the food crops humans eat everyday, are dwindling worldwide. In the past eight years, beekeepers have lost an average of 30 percent of their hives. The European Union has banned several neonicotinoids and cities and states across the U.S. and Canada have passed measures to address the use of these pesticides and protect bees.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency released an analysis confirming that neonicotinoid seed treatments offer little or no increase in economic benefit to U.S. soybean production. This analysis further confirms the urgent need to stop the release and use of these pesticides in agriculture and in the marketplace in order to best protect pollinators and the planet.

Last week, the White House announced a delay in its report on pollinators ordered by President Obama in a June 2014 memorandum. The president also charged EPA with assessing the effects of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on bees and other pollinators within 180 days. EPA announced last week that it would not release a regulatory decision on neonicotinoids before 2016.

This week’s deliveries and events are being organized by Friends of the Earth U.S., American Bird Conservancy, Bee Safe Neighborhoods, Beyond Pesticides, Beyond Toxics, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Ecology Center, Environment Texas, Friends of the Earth Canada, Food and Water Watch, GMO Inside, Maryland Pesticide Network,, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America, Save our Environment, Sum of Us and Toxic Free North Carolina.

Note to editors: Visit for the following resources:

  • Gardeners Beware 2014: Bee-Toxic Pesticides Found in “Bee-Friendly” Plants Sold at Garden Centers in the U.S. and Canada
  • Bee-friendly tips for shoppers and gardeners
  • Letters from Friends of the Earth and allies asking retailers to stop selling neonicotinoids and plants pre-treated with these pesticides.

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Expert Contacts:

Lisa Archer, Director, Food and technology program, (202) 222-3145, (West Coast)

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Food futures campaigner, (202) 222-0715, (East Coast)

Communications Contacts:

EA Dyson, 202-222-0730,
Kate Colwell, 202-222-0744,

Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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