78% of British public want plants free from bee-harming pesticides

02 Aug 2017
As Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count launches today, a new YouGov survey reveals that over three quarters of the British public (78%) agree that garden centres should not sell garden plants grown with bee-harming pesticides.

The Great British Bee Count (19 May-30 June), which is supported by TV presenters Michaela Strachan from Springwatch, and Ellie Harrison from Countryfile, uses a fun, free and easy-to-use app to help people find out more about the bees that visit their gardens, parks and neighbourhoods.

Michaela Strachan

Michaela Strachan supports the Great British Bee Count. credit: Caroline McClelland


Michaela Strachan said:

"The humble bee is a vital pollinator. Buzzing around our gardens and countryside, it's a hard working little insect that pollinates our flowers and crops. But unfortunately these beautiful insects are under-threat.

"By joining the Great British Bee Count you can find out more about the wonderful world of bees, and what you can do to help the plight of the humble bee."

“The free app includes tips on creating bee-friendly spaces, and will help you find out more about our buzzy friends. So download the app and get spotting!”

Michaela Strachan

Garden plants and pesticides

Garden centres and retailers are coming under increasing pressure to ensure that the plants they sell are free from pesticides linked to bee decline.

New research by leading bee expert Professor Dave Goulson finds that 70% of “bee-friendly” plants tested contained neonicotinoid pesticides – including 3 pesticides restricted across Europe that have been found to pose a “high acute risk” to honeybees.


A honeybee spotted in Crawley by Linda Taylor as part of last year's Great British Bee Count. Credit: Linda Taylor

Professor Dave Goulson said:

"It seems pretty outrageous that well-meaning gardeners may be buying plants to help the bees and inadvertently poisoning them."

"The Great British Bee Count is a wonderful opportunity to get the nation out looking at bees and other insects, and appreciating all that they do for us.”

Professor Dave Goulson

B&Q has already announced that it is banning neonicotinoid pesticides from all its flowering plants from next year. And thousands of people have joined a Friends of the Earth online petition urging leading plant retailers Homebase and Wyevale to take action too.

Public concern for under-threat bees

Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett said:

"Garden centres and retailers must listen to the public and ensure that their garden plants aren’t grown with pesticides that could harm our bees and other pollinators."

Great British Bee Count app

Download the Great British Bee Count app

“The public are incredibly concerned about the plight of Britain’s bees and are keen to help them – as our survey shows."

Craig Bennett

“We hope people will take part in this year’s Great British Bee Count to find out more about our under threat bees and what they can do to help them.”