Lush Charity Pot Party – Seeds for Bees, Pesticides and Pollinators, Extinction is forEver

Come and say hello to Orchard Park Wildlife Project – we’ll be in Lush on Saturday 23rd March. They’re very kindly holding a Charity Pot fundraising Party 😀 OPWP are very grateful for their support.

We’ll have some organic lavender seeds for you to plant in biodegradable pots to take away to grow which you can plant out in your garden, your window box, or hanging basket in summer….

Many people don’t realise that the majority of commercially grown plants sold at garden centres and supermarkets, including those marketed especially for pollinators, are affected by neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) (The Bee Cause and Dave Goulson 2017).

“They attack the brain of the insect, causing paralysis and death, and at lower doses interfere with navigation, disease resistance and learning. Just four-billionths of a gram is a lethal dose to a honey bee, meaning one teaspoon of neonics is enough to give a lethal dose to one and a quarter billion bees….Neonics work systemically in plants and can be sprayed onto leaves, watered into the soil, or used as a seed coating.”

Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at Sussex University

Some neonics have been banned by the EU but they can still be used on ornamental plants grown by commercial growers. Research by the University of Sussex on a range of “pollinator friendly” plants from garden centres and supermarkets shows that there’s “cocktail of pesticides, usually a mixture of fungicides and insecticides” present, 70% contained neonics that are particularly bad for bees (Goulson 2019).

Growing plants from seed, especially organic seed, is considered safer for insects and for wildlife friendly gardens in general, so we’re encouraging people to do just that.

The first global scientific review of the status of the world’s insects has shown they are heading towards extinction, with “dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world’s insect species over the next few decades” (Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys 2019).

“Bees are just one of many pollinators, that is really important
to emphasize, but they are the most important because of the way that they pollinate. They specifically go out to collect pollen to provide for their young. Without them I feel entire ecosystems would collapse; without pollinators but especially without bees.”

Wildlife Gardener, Brigit Strawbridge (cited in Johnson 2019)

Amongst other main drivers of this global decline in insect populations are: habitat destruction, climate change, and biological factors – however pollution mainly that by synthetic pesticides and fertilisers – is considered to be the second most significant negative factor causing these declines. Insect decline will in turn lead to increased losses of birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects…..(Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuys 2019)…. which will add to even more extinction further up the food chain.

Although commercial pesticide use needs to be curbed to make a large scale difference, we can all do our bit – think globally and act locally.

For ideas on what to plant see:

 Plant Pots for Pollinators Video from Butterfly Conservation

The best garden flowers for bees by Professor Dave Goulson

References:

Goulson, D., 2019. Pesticides in “Bee-Friendly” flowers. University of Sussex, pp.1–6. Available at: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lifesci/goulsonlab/blog/bee-friendly-flowers [Accessed March 10, 2019].

Johnson, A. 2019. Bridget Strawbridge. Alice Johnson talks to the Inspiring Gardening for Wildlife Advocate. New Nature, March/April, Issue 24.

The Bee Cause & Goulson, D., 2017. Are “bee-friendly” plants poisoning our bees? Friends of the Earth, pp.1–6. Available at: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/are-beefriendly-plants-poisoning-our-bees [Accessed March 2019].

Sánchez-Bayo, F. & Wyckhuys, K.A.G., 2019. Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers. Biological Conservation, 232, pp.8–27.

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