Retailers stop selling bee-killing pesticides

Bee on a flower

Photo: Chris Brown, Cardiff Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth's Bee Cause campaign has scored a major victory as three of the UK's largest hardware companies promise to stop stocking neonicotinoid chemicals.

B&Q, Wickes and Homebase have confirmed they will stop stocking the pesticides that have been linked to the decline in bee populations across the UK.

This is a huge boost for the Bee Cause campaign, which also delivered a petition with over 64,000 signatures calling on the government to develop a new National Bee Action Plan delivered to Downing Street.

Bees play a vitally important role in pollinating crops and their loss would have a huge impact on food production. A report from the European Food Safety Authority has identified that three neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam pose a bees.

Friends of the Earth want the government to ban the three neonicotinoid pesticides identified by EFSA as dangerous to bees and to ensure safer alternatives are available to farmers and gardeners.

Two studies have found found that bees consuming neonicotinoids resulted an 85 per cent loss in the number of queens their nests produced and doubled the number of bees who got lost while foraging.

The European Commission has just announced they will be bringing forward proposals to ban the three chemicals if a majority of EU member states vote in favour. France and the Netherlands are support a ban but the UK and Germany are reluctant to do so.

Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson said "It's important that we take action based upon scientific evidence rather than making knee-jerk decisions that could have significant knock-on impacts... That's why we are carrying out our own detailed field research to ensure we can make a decision about neonicotinoids based on the most up-to-date and complete evidence available."

We believe that the existing studies provide compelling evidence that the three pesticides are a major cause of the decline in bee numbers and the government should support an immediate ban.