Home Environment and health B&Q bans neonicotinoids on flowering plants

B&Q bans neonicotinoids on flowering plants

Bee Sedum
Garden plants like this Sedum are a prime food source for bees

Growers banned from using pesticides for February 2018 range

Bees on lavender. Picture; Vanessa Sundin

To help support wildlife and address the declining bee population, B&Q is to ban neonicotinoid pesticide use on its flowering plant range, available from February 2018.

The move means the retailer is the first to commit to ensuring no neonicotinoid pesticides are used in the cultivation of flowering plants, particularly pollinators where they present the biggest risk of harm to bees.

In 2013, B&Q removed pesticide products containing the three neonics most associated with bee population decline: imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and clothianidin.

B&Q’s sustainability manager Rachel Bradley said: “As part of our commitment to supporting Britain’s wildlife, in 2013 we reviewed the use of neonicotinoids in our garden chemical products.

“As a result of the findings, and ahead of EU restrictions, we withdrew all pest control products containing the three substances most linked to the decline in bee population.

Red admiral
Red admiral on Buddleja, August 2015

“We are now able to confirm that, to further support pollinators, we are encouraging everyone to do more for wildlife and to that end, we will ensure that none of the flowering plants we sell will be grown using any pesticide containing any of the nine neonicotinoids.”

New report

The announcement comes on the launch of a new report from B&Q, The Nature of Gardens, that examines how gardens can be good for nature and how that can be good for us.

The report, written in partnership with Bioregional, a charity and social enterprise which champions sustainable living, found that 67 per cent of people were concerned about wildlife in Britain and 63 per cent believed that there was a benefit to bringing wildlife closer to home.

However, one in five people with small gardens admitted they did nothing for wildlife citing time, space, money and lack of knowledge as the biggest barriers.

The report also found that scientific evidence confirmed the wellbeing benefits of connecting with wildlife are extensive, from better educational attainment, a better sense of wellbeing and better long-term mental and physical health.

The Nature of Gardens is also supported by RPSB, Butterfly Conservation, Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts.

Bring wildlife closer to home

B&Q has created 10 Top Tips to Bring Wildlife Closer to Home, designed to be easy, requiring minimum cost, time and space:

  1. Look out for wildlife and share your discoveries: Take part in wildlife surveys – it’s a great way to become more aware of what’s already out there.
  2. Make a bird café: Offering food and water is the fastest easiest way to attract new visitors.
  3. Plant for pollinators: Fragrant flowers in a pot or a bed are an irresistible addition.
  4. Give wildlife shelter: A log pile is great for butterflies, bug houses provide homes for mini beasts, a leaf pile for hedgehogs or install a bird or bat box.
  5. Shop with nature in mind: Use fewer garden chemicals. Look out for pollinator attracting plants and insist on forest-friendly wood and peat-free composts.
  6. Just add water: A pond can be any size, even a buried bowl can provide a home for mini-bugs and insects like damsel flies. Create shallows so that plant life can flourish and allow wildlife to enter and leave. Don’t have a pond if you have small children. A bird bath provides water for birds to bathe and drink.
  7. Max out the green: Nurture what trees and shrubs you have and bring more in wherever possible. Nature needs habitats at all levels so trees are fabulous but climbers are super space efficient.
  8. Help wildflowers flourish: Plant a mini-meadow in a pot, wildflowers in your borders or let a patch of lawn grow and flower.
  9. Open hedgehog gateways: Hedgehogs love to roam, but fencing can be a barrier. Creating a gateway either in or below your fence for them.
  10. Make your cat safe and seen: Cats can be a threat to wildlife but a bright collar and bell can reduce risk, as can keeping them indoors from an hour before dusk and an hour after dawn.
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