Bug Killers and Bee Decline: a Link?

Thoughts and musings

Bug Killers and Bee Decline: a Link?

Lewis | April 9, 2015 | 2 Comments

Bug killers are popular products in the UK, simply to remove pesky insects from people’s homes. They are very useful; these repellants have proven very successful in the prevention and control of insect-borne diseases, such as malaria. While this particular disease isn’t present in our country, the usefulness of these products cannot be denied when the safety measures surrounding them is taken away from the equation. However, in a recent product guide released by the Ethical Consumers magazine, it was revealed that a certain brand of bug killer contained a chemical named thiacloprid.

While this chemical, says the magazine, isn’t as toxic to the bee population as other chemicals such as other pesticides – some have been banned for the use on crops attractive to bees due to their detrimental effects – there is growing evidence that thiacloprid is a key factor in bee decline. As pollinators, bees have a huge role in human food supply; it is estimated that insect pollination accounts for a third of this. Therefore, their importance is pretty clear!

As a result of this revelation, Ethical Consumers have urged garden centres to remove bug killers containing thiacloprid from their shelves to stop bees from coming to any more harm from human induction. The phenomena of the use of pesticides isn’t just linked to the decline of bees, either. More research has shown that chemicals present could also be playing a key role in the decline of other species, such as butterflies.

Despite the producers of the bug killer in question insuring it is safe to use when following the instructions printed on containers, Friends of the Earth also added their opinion in this debate: “There’s a massive opportunity for retailers to show leadership where the government has so far failed in taking these products off the shelves”. This point is true; they are still available. But it hasn’t stopped the EU banning the use of certain pesticides to stop bee populations declining further.

Hopefully this is resolved quickly; bee populations are so important, and the news that they are declining and that certain bee species could become extinct in the very near future, anything we can do to help is of vital importance. If you would like to read the original article from The Guardian that this blog post pays homage to, then click here. What do you think? Leave your comments in the section below.