One of the best parts of my work is giving a platform to those on the front lines who are trying to find out why the bees are dying and stop it. So, of course I was eager to spread the buzz about the new Greenpeace International study that shows that 79 percent of flowers and ornamental plants across Europe are heavily contaminated with bee-killing and illegal pesticides. why bees dying

The report is aptly titled, “A Toxic Eden: Poisons in your Garden.” It points out that, however green and pretty your garden might look on the outside, it could be full of poisons on the inside.
why the bees are dying
“You can´t imagine how much toxic disgusting stuff we found,” wrote Christine Gebeneter, Bees Project Press Officer at Greenpeace Central & Eastern Europe.
why bees are dying
The study was conducted in 10 European countries and sampled of more than 35 popular varieties, including viola, bellflower, and lavender – all of which attract bees.
why the bees are dying
Additionally, about half of the samples, found in European gardening centers, supermarkets, and DIY-stores, contained neonicotinoids. Many, including myself, as expressed in our film
Vanishing of the Bees, believe such pesticides to be the root cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. Forty-three percent of the samples contained Imidacloprid; 8 percent, Thiamethoxam; and 7 percent Clothianidin.

“The application of these pesticides to ornamental plants grown in greenhouses and intended for planting outdoors later in the growing season is certainly against the spirit of the existing restrictions and may be illegal,” reads the Greenpeace International report.
why the bees are dying
This indicates that growers are either not complying with or are exploiting loopholes in the regulations.
why the bees are dying
“Flowers in your backyard may contain toxic pesticides, which puts bees and other pollinators at risk,” says Matthias Wüthrich, ecological farming campaigner and European bees-project leader at Greenpeace Switzerland. “In fact, ‘killer plants’ like those treated with neonicotinoid pesticides can be freely purchased and planted in parks and gardens and on balconies. As long as producers use bee-killing pesticides to grow flowers, consumers are made unwilling accomplices in the current bee decline and in contaminating the environment.” why the bees are dying

Lax Import Practices Could be Why the Bees Are Dying in Europe

While final conclusions about the impacts of the neonicotinoid-treated plants on bees cannot be drawn from this study, it is possible that bees and other pollinators could be exposed to toxic concentrations of these and other pesticides.
why bees dying
According to Greenpeace:

… Twelve plants (14 percent) contained pesticides not authorized for use in the EU, including two that are known to be toxic to bees. This may be due to illegal applications within Europe or through the import of pesticide-treated plants from countries outside the EU.
why bees dying
Says Wüthrich, “This demonstrates the urgent need to rigorously improve the supply chain-management and tracking system in the horticulture sector. … There is a proven need for a complete ban on bee-killing pesticides and a change toward ecological farming in both — agriculture and horticulture.”
why bees are dying
These finding come on the heels of another study that shows bee pollen is contaminated with poisons.
why bees are dying
Watch author and food activist Michael Pollan discuss our modern, unsustainable way of farming (monocultures) and the worldwide disappearance of honeybees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder. The footage contains selected scenes and bonus material from the documentary film Vanishing of the Bees, directed by yours truly, Maryam Henein.

why the bees are dying

P.S.: For an alternative to poisoning your garden with pesticide-filled designer plants, consider supporting HoneyColony in our mission to save the bees by planting one of the beautiful, organic plants featured in the left sidebar. All these flowers are both gorgeous and bee-friendly and planting them is one little step you can take to help turn back the tide of Colony Collapse Disorder.

Maryam Henein is an investigative journalist, professional researcher, and producer of the award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees.

Find out more about Maryam….


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