Are your plants killing bees?

According to a recent study by the Gardeners Beware 2014, 50 percent of plants purchased at garden retailers (like Lowe’s and Home Depot) contain neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides, despite being labeled as “bee friendly.” These pesticides are the most widely used in the country, and are chemically similar to nicotine, and have a harmful or deathly affect on bees. Neonics can harm bee’s reproduction, learning and memory, hive communications and immune responses.

“Bees are important, actually literally crucial to human life, because they pollinate 70 percent of the plants that humans consume,” said Michael Wall, Programs Director at Georgia Organics. “You’re heard the expression, ‘No farms, no food.’ Same thing can be said for bees.”

“The negative impact of neonicotinoids doesn’t stop at bees,” says Nikki Belmonte, Executive Director of Atlanta Audubon Society. “We’re concerned about the potential debilitating effects on birds that have been brought to light by the American Bird Conservancy. There are dozens of bird species in Georgia, including songbirds and hummingbirds, that depend on nectar and seeds from the plants being treated, or ingest invertebrates that live on these plants or among the soil they’re planted in.”

The European Union is on board and has banned three of the most popular neneonic pesticides, but Georgia Organics is still hoping that Atlanta-area garden stores will also stop selling the product.

Wall suggests you buy your plants organic, because the plants would not contain synthetic pesticides or insecticides. A great boutique garden center is Farmer D’s Organics.