Bee Action


Report cover image of a purple flower and bee hovering above it

Gardeners Beware: Bee-Toxic Pesticides Found in "Bee-Friendly" Plants Sold at Garden Centers Across the U.S.

A new study reveals the presence of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides in “bee-friendly” plants sold at major retailers at levels that have the potential to harm or even kill bees. The study found a significant decrease in plants tested that contain neonicotinoids — from 51 percent in 2014 to 23 percent in 2016. This reduction is likely due to changes in store policies that commit major retailers, including Home Depot and Lowe’s, to eliminate neonicotinoid use on garden plants. Retailer commitments are having a ripple effect in production methods by suppliers and have resulted in reduced use of neonicotinoids in common garden plants overall. 

Read the press release.


Report cover image of the Capitol building, money spewing from a danger sign and a dead bee

Buzz-Kill: How the Pesticide Industry is Clipping the Wings of Bee Protection Efforts Across the U.S.

In a new report, Friends of the Earth documents how the pesticide industry has weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new pollinator “protection” plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, and a lot to protect industry profits. This investigation reveals an array of pesticide industry tactics to slow urgently needed pollinator protection measures at federal and state levels.

Read the press release.


Growing Bee-Friendly Garden Plants: Profiles In Innovation

report by Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute, providing examples of wholesale nurseries, retailers and institutions, large and small, that are successfully phasing out use of pollinator-toxic pesticides from their operations, implementing innovative new pest management approaches to avoid regrettable substitutions, and moving toward practices that are healthy for bees and the environment. The report shares strategies and resources for other businesses to follow the lead of these industry leaders.

Gardeners Beware 2014 cover

Gardeners Beware (2014): Bee-toxic pesticides found in "bee-friendly plants sold at garden centers across the U.S. and Canada

new study shows that 36 out of 71 (51 percent) of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contain neonicotinoid pesticides -- a key contributor to recent bee declines. Some of the flowers contained neonic levels high enough to kill bees outright assuming comparable concentrations are present in the flowers' pollen and nectar. Further, 40 percent of the positive samples contained two or more neonicotinoids. 

Read the press release here.

Follow the Honey: 7 ways pesticide companies are spinning the bee crisis to protect profits

report by Michele Simon and Friends of the Earth uncovers the deceptive public relations tactics chemical companies Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto are using to manufacture doubt about science and fool politicians to delay action on neonicotinoid pesticides. As the bee crisis worsens, these companies are using tobacco-style PR tricks to protect their profits at the expense of bees and our future. 

Read the blog post by Michele Simon and our press release.

Gardeners Beware (2013): Bee-toxic pesticides found in "bee-friendly" plants sold at garden centers nationwide 

first-of-its-kind pilot study by Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute in 2013 found 54 percent of common garden plants purchased at top retailers, including Lowe's and Home Depot, contained neonicotinoid pesticides, which studies show can harm or kill bees and other pollinators, with no warning to consumers.

Read the press release here. 

Getting involved

Check out these bee-safe gardening tips for avoiding neonics in your garden.

Join the movement to save bees and our food system by calling on companies and policymakers to restrict neonicotinoid pesticides. You can take action by calling on the CEOs of True Value and Ace Hardware to stand up for bees, urging Congress to support the Saving America's Pollinators Act and using these bee-safe tips (right) in your garden.

In February 2014, Friends of the Earth and our allies organized the National Swarm to Save Bees. Activists across the country joined us in delivering valentines and more than half a million petition signatures to Home Depot and Lowe's asking these companies to stop selling bee-killing pesticides called neonicotinoids and garden plants pre-treated with these pesticides, making it the largest coordinated action to save bees in North America to date. Click here to read the letters Friends of the Earth and allies sent to Home Depot and Lowe's. Read the press release here, and check out these videos of storefront actions in D.C.Chicago and San Francisco.

In October 2014, we renewed the call by joining with allies, across the U.S. and Canada in visiting our local Lowe’s stores on the week of Halloween. Together, an estimated 30,000 people asked the retailer not to be a “little shop of horrors” for bees. Pictures from these events can be found at our Flickr and our Pinterest pages. Read the press release here.

Take action to protect bees!


1) Download our bee-friendly gardening tips.

2) Send a letter to the CEOs of True Value and Ace Hardware asking them to stop selling bee-killing pesticides.

3) Tell Congress to stand up for bees and support the Saving America's Pollinators Act.

CompaniesLearn more about why your company should help protect bees by making a commitment to not sell bee-killing pesticides.


Bees and other pollinators, essential for the two-thirds of the food crops humans eat everyday, are in great peril, and populations are dwindling worldwide.

Pests, diseases, loss of forage and habitat and changing climate have all been identified as possible contributing factors to global bee losses. However, a growing body of science has implicated the world’s most widely-used pesticides, neonicotinoids (neonics) made by giant chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta, as a key factor in recent global bee die-offs. 

But neonics aren't just used in agriculture -- as our pilot study shows, unbeknownst to consumers, many “bee friendly” garden plants sold at home garden centers have been pre-treated with these bee killing pesticides which can contaminate their gardens and keep harming bees and other pollinators for months to years. 

The European Union suspended the use of three neonic pesticides in December 2013, after a scientific review by European Food Safety Authority found that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees. In addition, the UK’s largest garden retailers, including Homebase, B&Q and Wickes, have already stopped selling neonics. Unfortunately, despite mounting evidence linking neonics to bee declines, and more than a million public comments urging swift protections for bees, the EPA has delayed action until 2018.

The bees can’t wait that long, and neither can we. 

That’s why Friends of the Earth and allies are calling on EPA and Congress to act quickly to restrict neonics to protect pollinators.

We are also calling on True Value, Ace Hardware and other top garden retailers to stop selling neonicotinoids and plants pre-treated with the pesticides. 


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