During Lent we are publishing an environmental tip each week. Lent 1 Neonicotinoids
These are a class of systemic insecticides which many people suspect are partly responsible for the deaths of bees and other pollinators. They can be used on plants, as a seed or bulb dressing or in the compost plants are growing in. In all these cases, they can poison the insects that feed on the flowers or harm soil life.
The good news is that from April 2019 three of them will be banned by the European Union, except for use in glasshouses, and Michael Gove has promised that Britain will observe the ban after Brexit.
The problem is that one can still buy plants that contain the chemicals, one way or another. My bulb supplier, Peter Nyssen, has removed them from their operation, which prompted me to enquire what other suppliers are still using them. I have had some interesting responses and have changed some of my suppliers, and also found some shining examples of good practice.
I would encourage you to do some checking of your own. It is usually necessary to be persistent: shop assistants don't usually know the answer, you have to contact the company by email, letter or telephone, and often they have to be prodded to get back to you with the information.