The effect on insects
For this part of my project Invisible threat I investigated the effects of new, non-organic garden plants on insects.
Different research done in the Netherlands, but also other countries like the UK has shown that the majority of non-organic plants that are being sold at garden centers contain a cocktail of several different pesticides. I also experienced this myself when I was working on my Growing project; If I bought a regular plant, the animals died, but if I bought an organically grown plant or if I used a plant that had been growing in my garden for years without any chemicals being used, the animals were thriving and there were no more deaths.
For this project, I’ve decided to repeat my previous observations. At different garden centers I bought 10 different plants. I’ve photographed all of them. Then, I fed them to different insects, snails and slugs. Because I didn’t want to harm nature, I’ve tried to use either animals that were bred in captivity (for example as food for reptiles)or invasive species. I also tried to minimize the number of animals, to prevent useless suffering.
In addition, I set up a control group, which consisted of the same animals, kept in exactly the same conditions, but with food that I knew was safe.
The result was that 9 out of 10 animal species that were fed with new non-organic garden plants died. One of the animals, the Small white butterfly was also deformed and died shortly after it came out of the pupa. The only plant where the animals didn’t die had a German eco-label. In the control groups, all the animals were thriving without any deaths.
In two cases, the Dahlia and Lavender, identical plants were tested by PAN (Pesticide Action Network) Netherlands. In both causes the plant contained a cocktail of several different pesticides.
Dahlia and Greenhouse slug
Non-organic cabbage and Small white
Cosmea and migratory locust
Buddleja (Butterfly-bush) and Small white
Lavender and house cricket
Carnation and snail
Non-organic lettuce and greenhouse slug
Blue fescue and migratory locust
Rubus (Blackberry) and Old lady (Mormo maura) caterpillar