Friday, 29 July 2016

Research Into Neonicotinoids In Garden Centre Plants- How You Can Help

Most of us know by now of the questions raised over the safety of Neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide used on crops which is a neuro-toxin for bees and other insects, paralysing
them at worst and leaving them confused and unable to relocate their hives at best. 

We rely on bees to pollinate the plants that create a lot of the food we consume. Bees all around the world are in trouble due to loss of habitat and exposure to toxic chemicals. There have been substantial efforts made in recent years to raise public awareness of their plight and to show people how they can help combat these declines by planting pollinator-friendly, nectar-rich plants in their gardens and by not using toxic chemicals on their lawns, flowerbeds etc.

The RHS has a 'bee friendly' stamp it puts on plants that are good for bees so people know which ones to buy to help the bees. Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex and an expert in bees and flutters who set up the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and who has written two great books on the subject, is setting up a research project to look at the presence and levels of Neonicotinoids in garden centre plants marketed as 'bee friendly'. Many of the plants in UK garden centres come from the Continent, especially the Netherlands where intensive production methods include the use of Neonics. 

He's funding the project using a website called Walacea which links people interested in supporting science research projects with the academics carrying out that research. It's basically a crowd-funding platform for great science projects and I urge you all to check it out. Here is the link to Dave Goulson's crowd-funding platform. You can donate as little as a fiver or as much as you want, it all goes directly towards funding the project. Personally I think it's money well spent. There is only one day to go before the funding closes, so please do check it out.

Because of the intricate connections that ecosystems consist of, if we lose bees the whole countryside will very quickly start to look different. Everything you see in the photos below will ultimately be at risk, so it's important stuff.



  1. Why have a garden full of boring and possibly toxic ornamentals anyway? Why not throw wildflower seed down and see what happens

    1. Couldn't agree more. This research is long overdue.

  2. It's scary to think what invisible toxins are sprayed on things isn't it. It would be good if things could be labelled properly, I know lots of people would avoid the stuff that's been sprayed. I'd rather have something less than perfect and know it is chemical free. Let's hope changes are afoot. CJ xx

  3. Well done for alerting us all. x

  4. Thanks so much for the reminder of the project - I spotted it before we went away and kept meaning to make a donation - finally, done it just in time!

    It is a horrendous thought that you could be buying a plant from a nursery to help bees and other pollinators not realising that it could be doing the exact opposite :(

  5. It's shocking what money makes people do - the quest for perfect cheap uniform produce has them putting poison on and we EAT it. Save the bees!

  6. My garden is very boring being all native plants, dirt rocks and not the lush English Type gardens. Which I love but at summer temps over 100+ not possible.
    My part is planting rosemary that the native Arizona Bees (solitary) love. Plus I have other native plants my bees love plus I just bought a native bee house from them. When It gets cooler here I will be making my own.
    I hope I am not too late, zooming over to check out the site.
    Thank You so much for posting this.

    cheers, parsnip

  7. Great post. It's so important that research into pollinators is supported, especially now there is uncertainty over future funding (following Brexit). There is research currently underway involving beekeepers into the level of neonics in honey. I know several local beekeepers participating in this. The pro-pesticide lobby groups have a very strong voice.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x