Conscientious buyers know to look for plants that aren’t covered in bee-killing pesticides, but as it turns out, those plants may be doing more harm than good. That’s because, according to a recent study, most of the plants sold in UK garden centers are coated with deadly neonicotinoid chemicals.

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Researchers bought plants from four major garden centers and a local nursery in the UK and found that 70 percent had neonicotinoid chemicals on them in quantities high enough to harm bees. Two plants were free of chemicals, while 23 had one or more (and up to 10) chemicals. Neonicotinoids have been shown to kill bees and contribute to colony collapse.

Related: EPA finally admits popular insecticide threatens honeybees

So how does one be sure that they aren’t harming bees? “Gardeners who wish to gain the benefits without the risks should seek uncontaminated plants by growing their own from seed, plant-swapping or by buying plants from an organic nursery,” said the researchers.

Researchers published their findings in the journal Environmental Pollution. Two of the garden centers responded to the report, stating that they do not knowingly sell plants containing neonicotinoids.

Via The Independent

Images via Flickr (1, 2)