Warning against use of weed killers over dangers to wildlife

Gardeners are being advised not to use glyphosate weed killers as they cause great harm for bees and other insects
Gardeners are being advised not to use glyphosate weed killers as they cause great harm for bees and other insects -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Gardeners have been warned against using weed killers that could cause a lot of harm to wildlife. Experts are warning against using too much pesticides this spring as it could kill pollinating insects like bees and do more harm than good n the long term. As reported by The Express, what a lot of gardeners may not realise is that chemical weed killers have been linked to harm bees, as well as other vital pollinators like wasps, flies and butterflies.

Pollinators play a vital role in the food chain and UK insect numbers are reported to be down by 60 percent in the past 20 years alone. If insect populations are killed off, food can’t grow because there are no pollinators left.

Pesticide Action Network Europe has set out several ways in which glyphosate weed killers are potentially harmful to bees. It said the weed killers disrupt the gut microbiome in bee colonies, making them more vulnerable to disease and other harmful effects. They can also disturb the larvae cycle of bees and damage bees’ nervous systems as well as being directly toxic to bees when ingested.

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It’s not just bees, but all key pollinators like flies, wasps and butterflies which can also be affected in the same way. Studies conducted found glyphosate weed killers had killed as many as 94 per cent of bees they came into contact with.

Gardeners are being advised to choose non-glysophate options which are said to be safer for flying insects but there are still doubts among some gardeners about using any chemicals at all. This view is backed by the Royal Horticultural Society, which sets out how weed killers should only be used as a last resort.

It said: “The RHS believes that avoiding pests, diseases and weeds by good practice in cultivation methods, cultivar selection, garden hygiene and encouraging or introducing natural enemies, should be the first line of control. If chemical controls are used, they should be used only in a minimal and highly targeted manner."