Are Bees Harmed by Pesticides?

Are Bees Harmed by Pesticides?

There are more than 1000 pesticides used worldwide for our food production.

But what are pesticides?

Pesticides are chemicals that repel/kill 'pests'. They protect our agricultural trade and our garden crops from getting damaged. But we shouldn't use pesticides as they have disastrous effects on our bees, environment and even us!

Honey bee on strawberry white flowerHoney bee on strawberry white flower.

Let's learn how to help our fuzzy friends as they help us…

Here's our brief guide to understanding pesticides and what you can do at home to support our bees:

Bye-Bye Bees!

The biggest issue with pesticides is that they kill every insect.

After we apply a pesticide to our soil/plants, it does 3 things:

  1. It makes direct contact with an insect from dust/wind.

    This is the most common reason for bee incidents.

  2. It is absorbed by the plant and harms anything that ingests the plant's sap.

    The chemicals get absorbed into the plant tissues and end up in the same nectar and pollen that our buzzing friends eat!

    'Neonicotinoids' are one of the most harmful pesticides to bees and are absorbed this way. They affect the bees' memory and learning processes. Studies have shown that two generations of bees had 75% fewer offspring when exposed to the neonicotinoid, 'imidacloprid' than the ones that weren't exposed.

  3. It leaves a poisonous residue.

    When a forging bee gets infected by the pesticide residue, it either dies on its own or brings it back to the hive, infecting and killing the whole colony.

road sign warning pesticides

Poisoning People

Beyond our bugs, there are thousands of pesticide-related poisons every year. Researchers suggest that there are 385 million cases per year worldwide. (This is about 44% of our global farmers!)

Why would you want to coat your yummy vegetables and flowers with poisonous residue and consume this later?

Our bodies have built-up a "body burden" over time from eating pesticides and many studies have found links to birth defects, headaches and even cancers in breasts, prostates and the brain.

It is safer to find pesticide-free alternatives for your garden. This will protect your kids, grandkids, and pets too who are often curious to explore your outdoor areas.

Natural deterrents will also stop you from removing helpful insects and tampering with animals further up the food chain. It is pointless to kill off the same natural predators that want to help protect your garden from damage!

One example of natural pest control, using ladybirds to limit numbers of aphids.One example of natural pest control, using ladybirds to limit numbers of aphids.

Going Organic During Inflation

Going organic is the best way to go.

If you are buying instead of growing your produce, it's not enough to wash/peel the pesticides off. Organic is better as they have restrictions to stop them from being grown with pesticides, GMOs, herbicides, and fertilizers.

But doing this during inflation can seem crazy! So, here are our 3 top tips:

  • Look to grow your food the RSPB-way with pesticide-free pest control.
  • Only buy organic from the 'Dirty Dozen' list, which are the worst offenders when it comes to pesticides. E.g., Strawberries and Spinach.
  • Buy from the 'The Clean 15' that contains hardly any or no pesticide residues. E.g., pineapples or avocados.
  • We will be going into detail about organic foods and the 'Dirty Dozen' in our upcoming blogs, so keep an eye out!

In the meantime, check out our other buzzing blogs like Why Are Bees Important? or our bee-saving products.

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