Home Depot – pulling a fast one with neonicotinoids ?

Home Depot logoAs an environmental journalist and an organic home gardener, I’m very aware of how pesticides and neonicotinoids such as Roundup and glyphosate are having a devastating effect on bees and butterflies. I work diligently to not only provide this information to others but also to avoid bringing any of said ingredients into or around my home.

During a recent visit to my local Home Depot, where I’d purchased a beautiful and fragrant blooming dwarf butterfly plant. Several days later, I’d prepared the area where I intended to plant this and was just about to begin transplanting it. As I lifted the plant out of its pot, I noticed – tucked completely away inside the pot – a tiny plastic notice stating that this plant had been protected from aphids and other pesky insects. Turning the tab over, I read the notice that the plant – which was created to encourage butterflies and bees into my yard – had been thoroughly treated with neonicotinoids.

Now nowhere on the outside, highly visible tag, was any of this information. And had I not been so thorough as to notice this tiny slip of plastic, I would have missed seeing it altogether.

I had such hopes for such a beautiful dwarf butterfly bush

I had such hopes for such a beautiful dwarf butterfly bush

My shock at this situation ran even deeper when I remembered the announcement made just last month that Lowe’s and Home Depot Canada had agreed to phase out this and other toxic pesticides from their stores by the end of this year. Yet here was a beautiful plant that had been saturated with a toxic brew, ready to be foisted off as lovely and healthy for the wildlife that would invariably be attracted to it as it grew, not knowing that attraction would mean their deaths.

Needless to say, I’ve since returned the plant to Home Depot. But the point is, was someone trying to pull a fast one on the consumer (in this case me)? And how many other consumers have been enamored by the lovely blooms and color and eagerly purchased these, hoping to see bees and butterflies find their way to their yards or gardens?

Bees-exposed-to-systemic-pesticides-are-unable-to-gather-enough-pollen-neonicotinoids-kill-honeybeesHome Depot US obviously isn’t interested in phasing out toxic chemicals from its stock, continuing to make them available and market them to consumers as fully as possible. So why does their Canadian branch have more environmental awareness than the parent company? And what would it take for the US company to sign on this bandwagon of protecting seriously endangered creatures?

Wake up consumers – and Home Depot. Bees are responsible for pollinating 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants.

The more neonicotinoids and pesticides you sell to us, the less pollinators we have. That means havoc reigns as far as propagating our crops and food prices go up. Basically, this giant retailer’s actions means it’s putting our food at risk.

Time to pay attention – and to speak up.

By the way, when I told the customer service rep at Home Depot why I was returning the plant and the ramifications of having such a plant, she was a bit shocked. We need more of that. Speaking up counts!

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