Please take a look at what the Soil Association website says about Provado, which it lists as a 'Bee Killer'
Garden pesticides that kill bees - table provided
PESTICIDE NEONICOTINOID SELLER
Westland Plant Rescue Bug Killer; Thiamethoxam; Wickes
Provado Vine Weevil Killer; Thiacloprid; B&Q
Bug Clear Ultra Vine Weevil Killer Acetamiprid; B&Q
Bug Clear Gun! Acetamiprid; B&Q
Provado Ultimate Bug Killer Spray Thiacloprid Homebase
Provado Ult. Bug Killer Ready to Use Thiacloprid Homebase
Provado Ult. Bug Killer Concentrate Thiacloprid Homebase
We don't use any insecticides or slug pellets - if it'll kill insects it'll upset the balance of nature - the birds, hedgehogs, bats, frogs and toads etc seem to keep things in check here - and we live on the edge of a city so if it works here it'll surely work anywhere.
And I just don't believe that something that'll kill one type of insect can be harmless to another. When I was a child the summer evening air was full of moths as we drove through the countryside, sometimes it was like driving through a cloud and the windscreen needed cleaning when we got home - when was the last time anyone saw insect life like that in the UK? Something has happened to really reduce the numbers of insects and it's really worrying.
I come from a farming family - I know how dependent we are on pollinating insects to provide our food. There's a school of thought that says it's better for the planet for us to eat less meat and more veg but how will that work if the veg can't be pollinated to make seeds???
Borderbeeman, I am glad you have brought this to our attention. I am particularly horrified to think that plants I buy from a garden centre may be pre-treated with poisons. As to an earlier comment about gardeners not deliberately doing things to hurt bees - of course we don't, but if we are not even aware of what's happening behind our backs how can we make the choice?
Thanks Flobear and Doves, I have had the same conversation with an elderly farmer here in the Borders; he said that he used to drive ten miles each way to see his daughter in the 1960s - and he would have to clean his windscreen because of the dead insects - every trip, each way. Now he says he never needs to clean the windscreen. We are witnessing the extinction of all the common life that used to live in the fields and hedgerows. I recently read that farmland birds have declined by 70 to 80% in just 20 years: skylarks, partridges, yellowhammers, linnets, sparrows, starlings - they have vanished from the fields. ALL of these birds feed their young on insects and larvae - even sparrows. No insects means no young birds; no young birds means rapid decline. I live on a farm, and although my garden is full of sparrows, dunnocks and bluetits - the fields for miles around are silent and empty of life. There is nothing to eat for the birds, or the bees, or the butterflies. We are creating an ecological dead-zone wherever arable crops are grown. Which is why gardens are the last oasis for wildlife. In France the situation is so serious that a new grassroots network is growing, called 'The Pollinis' - who are setting up bee and wildlife reserves in every village. Check them out here:
Friends of the Bees are also asking people to establish 'Bee Friendly Zones in this country, because if we don't, there will soon be nothing left. The most insidious aspect is this one of 'hidden' pesticides in imported tulip bulbs, imported plug plants. Very hard to find out what is treated and what is not; there is no requirement for labelling. The issue of coated seeds is also very mysterious; Suttons are now selling 'organic flower seeds'; which leads me to ask - what are the other flower seeds if not organic?
Thanks for the info about Suttons - that'll certainly be where I look for any seeds I need
As we've moved into a new (to us) garden which had been neglected for several years, we're working hard to ensure that anything we do doesn't remove insect habitat, or if it does, then we endeavour to replace it with something of at least equal value.
As I think I've said before I come from a farming family, and here in East Anglia some farmers are noticing the lack of beneficial insects and some are taking steps to try to remedy what has happened - the problem is they are tied to contracts with the big supermarkets and these contracts control every aspect of how a crop is produced - until the public understands what is going on and puts pressure on the supermarkets the growers have their hands tied if they wish to stay in business (it's a bit like the current probems in the dairy industry).
Hi Dove, the tactic used in the USA by Bayer and Monsanto has been to buy-up ALL of the independent seed companies - the process is now more or less complete. It is virtually impossible to purchase any crop seed today that is not already pre-coated with neonicotioid pesticides.The figures are truly scary. The Americans planted 92 million acres of neonic treated maize last year - that is four times the entire area of Scotland. Each maize seed has 1.25 milligrams of Clothianidin on it; that is enough - from a single seed - to kill 200,000 bees.
If you add in wheat, barley and cotton in the USA the total acreage treated with bee-killing pesticides is 403 million acres. Here in the UK it is around 4 million acres - but that is just about every acre of wheat, barley, OSR, potatoes, peas,beans - and most glasshouse crops: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers etc.
If anyone knows any farmers - please ask them if they have any choice in buying neonicotinoid treated seed? My impression is that increasingly they do not - and planting is often now sub-contracted to specialist agronomists - who just prescribe pesticide treated seeds as standard procedure.
The emormous change, which hardly anyone has noticed - is that pesticides used to be applied as a REACTION to an invasion of insects - which might only happen one year in five, or in one part of a field. The farmer then went and sprayed that section. Today, EVERY SEED in EVERY ACRE is coated with bee-poison PROHYLACTICALLY - in advance, as an insurance policy. Every acre of arable crops in the UK is automatically made toxic to all forms of insect life as a 'precaution'; the result is the death of all earthworms, beetles, aphids, ladybirds, hoverflies, bees, butterflies etc. Think about it - every single acre of arable crops you see in the UK is empty, devoid of all forms of life, except the crop itself.
The analogy would be antibiotics. Everyone gets a sore throat once every couple of years. but would your doctor prescribe you antibiotics, every day of your life, as a 'precaution' against the possibility that you might, one day, get a sore throat.
Of course she wouldn't! That would be very dangerous, since all your normal bacteria would soon become resistant and when you really needed an antibiotic, it would no longer work. The same is happening with our crops; the more efficient the insecticides and herbicides become, and the more we treat every single seed with systemics as an 'insurance policy' the greater the chance of developing resistance, so more and more dangerous pesticides and herbicides have to be applied. By wiping out the 'friendly predators' - ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies - we create a vast area of crop that is unprotected by nature's balance - we are ringing the dinner bell for the arrival of 'super pests'. The same is true for the garden. If we support the balance of predators (spiders, lacewings, ladybirds etc) and prey insects (aphids, mealybugs etc) then the system is largely self-regulating. if we wipe the slate clean of predators, we are sowing dragon's teeth and inviting an explosion of pests.
I agree, I think we've sown the seeds (sorry) of our own destruction!
Grubbing out hedgerows is a slightly related topic. What amazes me is that many gardeners want to blame farmers for destroying habitats. But if you look at the gardens of the people complaining, very often, they have shaved clover-free lawns, and their gardens have no wild flowers, nettles, or log piles. Many people talk about environment, but seemingly don't want to do anything about it in their own gardens - in the very place where they actually have the power to bring about change.Real change begins in our own gardens. If your discussion can swing half a dozen gardeners away from using pesticides, you can say you have achieved something.
The lawn here at our new home has been fairly neglected for years and has a wide variety of plants in it and is loved by the bees. Regular raking and weekly cutting has made it look more like a lawn, without removing the clover, wild majoram and self-heal (amonst others) that bring the bees to our lawn.
The front lawn has had builders' skips and 1 ton bags of sand etc all over it, and we had thought we would have it re-turfed, but we've discovered that it too is full of white clover and the bees love it, so when the builders have finished their work on the house we're going to try just re-seeding the bare patches left by the builders' detritus so that we can keep the clover.
When digging earlier this year I found the larva of a stag beetle on some dead wood under the back lawn
I collected a swarm of bees from a neighbour's garden the other day. She spent most of the time apologizing about how 'untidy' the garden was, as some Welsh poppies and Herb Robert had had the temerity to show themselves and *gasp* actually flower (!) among her ghastly, manicured shrubs.
I commented that they were rather pretty and were actually the only flowers in the garden, so wouldn't it be a good idea to leave them to grow?
She said she was planning to spray them as soon as her recent leg fracture healed...
Sadly, I think this is far too representative of the attitude of many gardeners towards 'weeds' that are actually more attractive than the ugly, imported evergreens so many grow now.
And these same gardeners are also much too keen to reach for insecticides - luckily I intercepted her before she sprayed the bees - including the dangerously persistent and proven bee-killers too freely sold to people who don't understand the implications of rendering their plants permanently toxic to insects.
Neonicotinoids are killing the insects on which so much else depends, including birds and bees. It's time they were banned, in my opinion.