Bee-friendly plants are often harmful to animals

People like to create a flower lawn in the garden or on the balcony to help the bees. However, environmental organizations have found that many plants that are supposedly friendly to bees tend to harm animals. You can find out what these are here.

Ornamental plants are not as friendly to bees as is often assumed. This is the result of the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) and the Environmental Protection Organization Global 2000. In plant testing, the organizations were able to detect hazardous pesticide residues in almost all plants.

Almost all plants are attacked by pesticides

44 plants were examined that were declared bee-friendly, recommended by staff as bee-friendly, or generally considered attractive to bees. The flowers come from garden centers, flower shops, hardware stores, warehouses, grocery stores, furniture stores, and nurseries in both Germany and Austria.

The laboratory examined the crop using the multiple analysis method for pesticide residues and detected pesticides in 42 out of 44 plants. The maximum value was 19 different pesticides in one plant. A total of 64 different pesticides have been found in plants that are supposedly friendly to bees – eleven of which are highly toxic to bees.

“Cultivation of ornamental plants has disastrous effects on bees and other insects,” Bond pesticide expert Corina Holzel said in a press release. Consumers want to save bees and stop insects from dying. They buy flowering plants that are marketed as bee-friendly. However, plants such as sunflowers, lavenders, or lilies can contain pesticide residues that are harmful to bees. Bees ingest these harmful insect toxins through nectar and pollen. This turns the required bee rescue into a toxic trap.”

List of infected plants

The lab found more than ten highly toxic insecticides per sample in the following plants from Germany:

  • French lavender, Hornbach
  • Peterroot, Obi
  • Goldmary, Flower 2000
  • Lilies, Dahner
  • Daffodil, Hornbach
  • Bluebell, Punch
  • Bell cushion, obi
  • Swiss Schutrich, Obi
  • Bell cushion, Hornbach
  • Grape lilies, Hornbach
  • Stoneized, punch
  • Lobelia, Rio
  • Gold lacquer hair money

Plants from Germany containing less than ten insecticides per sample:

  • Rosemary, Hornbach
  • Lily, Dahner
  • blue pillow punch
  • sunflower, edica
  • Verbena, hair money
  • Margaret, flower 2000
  • wise hair money
  • bell, Rewe
  • Wild Malu, Obi
  • Phlox, Obi
  • Sunflower, Rewe
  • Margaret, Ryo

A detailed list of tested plants can be found here.

BUND calls for a ban on pesticides

Nearly 40 per cent of the plants tested this year contained pesticides that were no longer approved by the European Union at the time of sampling. “The fact that European manufacturers sell pesticides to countries in the global south is no longer allowed in Europe because of the danger they pose to people and the environment. They are used there, for example in the cultivation of ornamental plants, endangering workers and polluting the environment. Toxins cycle when EU member states import ornamental plants containing such pesticides without EU approval,” says pesticide expert Holzel of BUND.

In order to stop the death of insects, especially bees, and to protect workers on flower farms around the world, BUND is calling on the federal government to ban the export of pesticides not approved in the European Union. Moreover, the use of pesticides must be reduced rapidly and significantly. Pesticides that are particularly dangerous to humans and the environment should be banned at the EU level. For consumers, the best recommendation is to buy organic plants or wholly locally grown ornamental plants.

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