Amidst the growing pollinator crisis and due to public pressure, Aldi Süd, the German supermarket chain with stores in the U.S., has become the first major European retailer to ban pesticides toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, from fruits and vegetables produced for their stores. Starting in January, Aldi produce suppliers have had to ensure their cultivation practices exclude eight pesticides identified as toxic to bees. Other retailers in the U.S. and Europe are also beginning to shun bee-toxic pesticides.
Home Depot will no longer use the class of pesticides known as neonics on 80 percent of its flowering plants; completing the phase-out in 2018. Lowe’s is ending the sale of products containing neonicotinoid pesticides within 48 months. Smaller retailers are also working on removing neonics and other toxic pesticides from their shelves.
The science has become increasingly clear that pesticides, working individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of honeybees and other pollinators. Bees in the U.S. and Europe have seen unprecedented losses over the last decade, and bee-toxic pesticides like neonicotinoids have consistently been implicated as a major contributing factor.