Pesticides blamed for killing bees have been removed from the shelves of Britain’s biggest gardening chains, prompting calls for similar chemicals widely-used on farms to be banned completely.
After studying the evidence, Homebase, B&Q and Wickes took the decision to remove two popular bug killers containing neonicotinoids.B&Q and Wickes, two of the best known names in garden centres and DIY this week have said that they would remove products containing neonicotinoids. These chemicals, commonly used as pesticides, have been suspected for years of harming bees, but were identified this year as having a devastating effect on the pollinators.
Campaigners, who claim that the pesticides are responsible for the recent collapse in bee numbers, have welcomed the move. But Lord Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association, questioned why other garden centres are allowed to carry on selling products containing neonicotinoids.
However Dr Chris Hartfield, National Farmers Union, lead on bee health, said there is no new evidence that neonicotinoids are responsible for a decline in bees.
He pointed out that farmers are more likely to use chemicals correctly to protect bees, for example by avoiding flowering crops, than amateur gardeners.
Bee health has been a concern for several years, as populations of the pollinators have been under threat from a variety of sources. The role of pesticides was much disputed, but the landmark pronouncement by the EFSA has found that there is an undeniable link between their use and the death of bees, giving added strength to campaigners.
The UK government’s advisory committee on pesticides is currently examining new evidence of harm to bees from the use of certain commonly used insecticides, with a view to recommending possible changes to the current regulatory regime governing their use.
Watch this space……
Author: Robert Smith