Home Depot to Phase Out Bee-Killing Insecticide

The world’s largest garden supply retailer will phase out pre-treating plants with neonicotinoids by 2018.

Home-goods chain retailer The Home Depot has announced plans to stop pre-treating plants in its garden center with neonicotinoids—a widely-used, deadly type of insecticide found from roots to pollen—by 2018. When bees come to flowers, the dose of pesticide can either kill them immediately, or if it is non-lethal, it can have devastating effects on the entire hive. This month, The Home Depot said it has stopped treating 80 percent of garden plants and will phase out the pre-treating of plants by 2018. However, the home-improvement store will continue selling insecticides and other products that include neonicotinoids. “We will continue to challenge retailers to engage in a race to the top to move bee-toxic pesticides off their shelves and out of garden plants as soon as possible,” Lisa Archer, food and technology director at Friends of the Earth, told TakePart. “Bees are the canary in the coal mine for our food system and everyone, including the business community, must act quickly to protect them.” Despite the changes happening in mainstream retailers, the use of neonicotinoids in commercial farming is still a major threat to bee populations as five million pounds were used in agriculture in the United States in 2010.

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