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'Bee-Friendly' Plants Sold At Big Box Stores Are Actually Killing Bees
The bee population situation has gotten so dire that the White House has created a bee task force. As the bee population dwindles, scientists and researchers look for an explanation and a solution. Thus far, scientists have determined that neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides, is a serious culprit in the bee problem. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has found "conclusive" evidence that these neonicotinoids are "a key factor in the decline of bees." These pesticides are extremely toxic — five-to-ten thousand times more toxic than DDT.
In order to help rebuild the populations, researchers have recommended planting bee-friendly gardens. These gardens have specific plants that create an environment in which bees can thrive, and over time, can help rebuild the bee population. These plants are sold at the usual big box garden centers, like Home Depot, Walmart, and Lowe's.
While it seems like a great plan, the Pesticide Research Institute has determined the bee friendly plants sold at these stores actually contain neonicotinoids. So the bee friendly gardens are inadvertently contributing in a major way to the death of even more bees.
Researchers at the Pesticide Research Institute purchased 71 bee friendly plants, such as daisies, lavender, marigolds, primrose, and asters. They were purchased throughout 18 different Lowe's, Walmart, and Home Depot locations around the U.S., to be sure this was not a store specific issue. Over 35 of the 71 plants had neonicotinoid residues. Depending on the plant, the residue levels were between 2 and 748 parts per billion. Vera Krischik, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Minnesota, told Wired that honeybees can die when exposed to levels of 192 parts per billion. Their navigation ability, memory, and foraging ability is affected when exposed to levels between 4 and 30 parts per billion.
Technically, the plants being sold are completely legal (just not ethically responsible.) While neonicotinoids are illegal in Europe, they are completely legal in the United States. If you are trying to plant a garden that is actually bee friendly, you can purchase organic plants.
to read more: thewire.com
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