EUGENE, Ore. — A new report finds so-called “bee-friendly” plants may actually be harming bees.
Researchers found that home garden plants sold at Lowes, Walmart and Home Depot have been pretreated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees.
The study was released by Friends of the Bees and allies, including Beyond Toxics. Researchers found 51 percent of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 cities in the U.S. and Canada contained neonicotinoid pesticides. Some of the flowers contained neonic levels high enough to kill bees, and 40 percent of the positive samples contained two or more neonics.
The pesticides are a key contributor to recent bee declines. Bees and other pollinators are essential for two thirds of the food crops we eat every day, and they’re on a decline in countries around the world.
Researchers say these pesticides don’t break down quickly so the plants could be toxic to bees for years. To be safe, gardeners are advised to buy organic plants.