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Bee Friendly: Freedom from Pesticides

Why is this important?

Certain pesticides called neonicotinoids have been found to potentially harm bees and other pollinators. These pesticides are taken up by the plant and stored in its flowers, leaves, stems and roots. This makes these plants a dangerous place for pollinators to feed.  The European Union has now restricted the use of these neonicotinoid pesticides on seeds, soil applications and foliar treatments on plants that attract bees and on cereal plants. Recent studies are showing increasing evidence that these neonicotinoid pesticides are also harming butterflies who also feed on these plants.

Unfortunately it is not just neonicotinoids that are causing harm, the use of herbicides can kill off wildflowers and deprive pollinators of their food source, while other pesticides still kill a large variety of our native insect species and can do immense damage to our pollinator populations.

What have Denbighshire County Council been doing?

Protecting the environment is a serious matter for the Council and as such it has been set as a priority in the Corporate Plan. The Council has committed to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides across the county and will ensure that none of the “Bee Friendly Denbighshire” sites are treated with herbicides or pesticides.

The use of herbicides and pesticides is a concern for many residents within our communities and as such the Council became the first organisation in the UK to purchase the new state-of-the-art Foamstream M600 https://www.weedingtech.com/foamstream-m600/  (link to website) which allows us to manage the environment in a more eco-friendly way by reducing our usage of herbicides and pesticides and move a step closer to one day being a completely herbicide and pesticide free county.

We hope that other organisations and Councils will take this step with us as we move towards a greener and healthier environment for all our citizens and of course, all our little pollinators!

So how can you help? 

Avoid using harmful neonicotinoid pesticides and encourage others to avoid using them too. Investigate alternative means of growing and protecting your plants from weeds and pests. For a free downloadable guide to gardening without pesticides, the Pesticide Action Network UK have developed a great booklet which will guide through fending off all sorts of garden pests!  http://www.pan-uk.org/site/wp-content/uploads/A-guide-to-gardening-without-pesticides-2017-bw-printer-friendly.pdf See if we can get a pdf download link

Some extra ideas on how to get involved

Some ideas from the Welsh Government’s Bee Friendly Action Guide See if we can get a pdf download link

  • Encourage community members to reduce and eliminate their use of pesticides that kill insect pollinators
  • Work with local allotment holders to involve them in creating and managing pollinator habitat on allotments and to reduce pesticide and herbicide use
  • Raising awareness more generally about the effects of pesticides on pollinators.

Try the following tips on organic gardening by the Royal Horticultural Society: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=822 Link to website

  • Continuously remove the weeds using a fork or by hand.
  • Preventing weeds from dispersing their seeds is very important, it will save you a lot of hassle in the future!
  • Mulching with organic matter in deep layers of 5cm – 8cm will help prevents annual weeds from gaining a foothold.
  • Black sheeting prevents annual weeds from sprouting and after at least one growing season will prevent perennial weeds from returning.
  • Ground cover plants can also prevent weeds from growing and will look better and provide additional pollinator food if you use the correct plants (see our plant list)

*Remember, a healthy vibrant plant with a good soil mix will be able to fend off more bugs than an unhealthy plant!*

 Here’s what Denbighshire County Council are setting out to achieve

We will:

  • Confirm that no pesticides/herbicides have been used in the management of “Bee Friendly Denbighshire Sites”.
  • We will also report on progress made in reducing overall herbicide/pesticide usage.

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