The battle for a ban on neonicotinoids is still going strong. Manufacturers of the chemicals claim that gardeners following the instructions will do no harm to bees. But do you always read the instructions?
The debate about neonicotinoids, the pesticides implicated in the decline of bees, rages on. Waitrose is the latest company to take action, banning its suppliers from using neonicotinoid pesticides while more evidence is gathered about their impact on the environment.
Manufacturers insist that products designed for use in gardens will not harm bees if they’re used according to the instructions. But do people actually follow the instructions on a label? We surveyed over 1,000 people to find out.
Around seven in 10 people told us that they have used an insecticide, and around a quarter have bought one in the last 12 months. Around nine in 10 who had bought an insecticide say that they do read the usage advice and follow it. Two thirds told us that they are aware that there is specific safety advice about spraying insecticides carefully to avoid harming bees.
Bee careful with chemicals
I’m impressed. The advice around spraying is pretty specific – you should spray in the evening, when bees are less likely to be around, or when plants are in full flower. I don’t use sprays, but I’m lousy at reading instructions. I would have thought that if someone sees some greenfly munching on their plant, they’d just reach for a product right away.
Maybe Which? members are just very engaged in this issue. And let’s not ignore the fact that around a quarter of people said they were not aware of the safety advice, so could be spraying incorrectly.
Our survey yielded some interesting bee-friendly comments. ‘Bees are more important than greenfly,’ said one respondent. While another said: ‘I try to spray late in the day and when the bees have settled for the evening’. Another commented: ‘I’ve only recently become aware of the effects of insecticides on the bee population. I shall not be using them in future in my garden’.
Are you less inclined to use sprays these days, or have you stopped using them altogether? Do you consider them safe? Or maybe you just don’t care about bees? One respondent admitted that they didn’t like bees, and had sprayed a bumble bee directly to kill it.