Giant Bee asks garden centre to withdraw pesticides linked to bee decline
23 February 2013
A giant bee from Friends of the Earth's Bee Cause campaign went to Harrow Garden Centre, Middlesex, on Saturday 23 February to ask managers to withdraw products containing neonicotinoid pesticides linked to bee decline. Harrow Garden Centre is part of the UK's biggest garden centre chain, the Garden Centre Group, which owns Wyevale, Blooms and Country Gardens.
The Bee Cause has revealed that numerous garden centres and DIY stores, including B&Q, Homebase, Wickes, Notcutts, Hillier, Squires and Blue Diamond, with a total of approximately 1,000 outlets between them, are taking action to remove neonicotinoid products from their shelves.
The Garden Centre Group has told Friends of the Earth that it stocks one product containing the neonicotinoid Imidacloprid, saying "we only stock it in very small volumes. However when used according to the instructions it poses no risk to bees."
Concern about the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on bee populations has risen sharply in recent months. Last month the European Commission proposed restictions on three neonicotinoid chemicals, including for use by amateur gardeners, after the European Food Safety Authority found a 'high acute risk' to bees exposed to neonicotinoids.
Friends of the Earth's Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:
"It's great to see garden centres across the UK heeding the warning from European safety experts and pulling pesticide products linked to bee decline from their shelves.
"The approach of leading retailers stands in stark contrast to the Government's reluctance to back European efforts to safeguard bees from pesticides.
"With bee numbers plummeting Environment Secretary Owen Paterson must take urgent action to safeguard these crucial pollinators by backing a ban and introducing a Bee Action Plan to tackle all the threats they face including pesticides."
Notes to editors:
1. Letter to garden centre managers: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/letters/letter_bees_pesticides.pdf
2. What other garden centres told Friends of the Earth:
· Hillier said: "Hillier will withdraw any (in our case 2) products containing imidacloprid, chlothianidin, thiamethoxam. They will be off our shelves by tomorrow [6 February 2013] at the latest."
· Notcutts said: "There are many different neonicotinoids and we have removed the products with the three that were highlighted by the European Food Safety Authority whilst we look into this in more detail."
· Blue Diamond said it will: "...drop the lawn grub killer with immediate effect. We are reviewing our other products and intend to finalise our policy before Easter when sales of these products begin.
· Squires said: "We are very concerned and have withdrawn any products that contain the pesticides; clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, as a precaution."
3. Last month Friends of the Earth revealed that B&Q, Homebase and Wickes had removed - or were removing - neonicotinoids linked to bee decline. The three stores operate approximately 900 stores between them.
4. In written evidence to MPs, Defra stated that "Since 1990, the UK has lost 20 species of bee... A further 35 bee species are considered to be under threat of extinction. There has been a severe decline in the diversity of wild bees in the countryside."
5. Friends of the Earth's The Bee Cause campaign is supporting individuals to make change in their gardens and communities to help bees, and asking the Prime Minister to commit to a National Bee Action Plan. To support the call to David Cameron and find out what else you can do to help bees, visit The Bee Cause webpage www.foe.co.uk/bees
If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.
Published by Friends of the Earth Trust
Last modified: Feb 2013