Prohibited pesticides: "A hat – and I get rid of all insects in my garden"

Mr Hellberg, looking for the star In Poland, you bought banned insecticides in Germany. How was it for you as a scientist?

Very exciting. After our shopping tests in Berlin, several clues showed us that one or the other gardener illegally buys pesticides in Poland. We went to the bottom and found it quickly.

With what legend did you appear on the market in Slubice?

The purchase was terribly easy. Because of the language barrier, I just said a few words to the salesgirl in German – "insect", "apple", "insecticide" – and almost immediately, I received acetamipride, a neonicotinoid with systemic action. Systematically means that the agent reaches all areas of the plant, including the flower. I asked and received several packets of the compound containing acetamiprid. When I saw Roundup Flex 480 behind the counter, I simply posted it and bought the highly concentrated glyphosate. A wink of an eye immediately gave me advice to other German customers and commented: "It works very well!

Can these funds be used in Germany?

In the garden or on other surfaces, these agents must absolutely not be used by amateur gardeners without proof of competence, especially not in spray after the personal dosage! The highly concentrated Mospilan 20 SP contains 200 grams of acetamiprid per kilogram, an extremely controversial and extremely dangerous substance for pollinators such as bees and other useful organisms – a neonicotinoid, a neurotoxin for insects. Outdoor use is already banned in the EU for three other neonicotinoids! For me, it is totally incomprehensible that acetamiprid has not been banned for a long time. Unfortunately, agents with low concentration of acetamiprid are still allowed in gardens. But never with fruits. On the positive side, many home centers and garden centers have stopped selling glyphosate. But there are now products like Roundup AC without glyphosate. It contains acetic acid or nonanoic acid or pelargonic acid. Less problematic is the new roundup in my opinion no. You have to use it a lot more often, so it works as well against weeds. Good for the manufacturer's sales, who even managed to have Roundup AC allowed in open spaces with woody plants. One step forward, two back!

What means did you get on the market in Slubice?

For example, "Bi 58 Insect Killer". On all stands there were bottles of one liter or even larger packages. This size is not available in Germany for non-professional users. "Bi 58" is considered dangerous for bees and can not be used at home or in the plot in the field and never in the fruit! "Bi 58" contains dimethoate active ingredient and is banned in August 2019 in Germany. There is a selling period until the end of January 2020 and a period of exhaustion until the middle of 2020. When I stated during our visit to the market, "Bi 58 ", I was not strong enough, the seller has a highly concentrated agent containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos. I was stunned! Plant protection products containing the active substance chlorpyrifos are prohibited in Germany. I was stupid and asked: "Is there the whole liter in my spray can?" The seller must have laughed and said, a hat – and I'm all insects in my garden going on.

A farmer sprays his plants with pesticides

But you could have bought several bottles?

We could have bought a dozen bottles. Then he asked star– Journalist, he can take pictures of bottles with Cholorpyrifos. The dealer first agreed, but shortly thereafter he wanted the photos removed. There was a fight. the starPeople acted as if they were deleting the photos. But they stayed in the store.

They also sampled at DIY stores and garden centers in Berlin. With what result?

The advice was simply inadequate everywhere. With my inexperienced gardener experience, I expected an intensive consultation, also for an environmentally friendly crop protection. And I already had the impression that the destruction of pests by synthetic chemical poisons is made really easy, even recommended. The use of chemical agents should always be the last option. Incidentally, I have also found it scandalous that the preventive use of funds has been recommended. We should spray our plants to prevent pest infestation.

So, are all gardeners murderers?

No not good. There are wonderful initiatives for pesticide-free gardening. Many completely abstain from poisons. At the Aurelia Foundation, however, we roughly calculated the number of pesticides used by the average home gardener and were surprised.

And how much?

In 2017, about 6.69 kg of pesticides were sold to non-professional users per hectare of home and garden in Germany.

Is it more or less used as a normal farmer?

More! If amateur gardeners are actually poison sprays worse than farmers, I do not want to draw directly from them. After all, in the non-professional sector, far fewer active substances are distributed by sector. Pesticides for the home and garden are also often less concentrated.

Jan Hellberg (left) and star author Norbert Höfler in the search

Jan Hellberg (left) and starAuthor Norbert Höfler during the search

You work as a biologist for the Aurelia Foundation. What do you want to accomplish?

We care about nature conservation and especially bees, pollinators and biodiversity – whether in agriculture, politics, education or art. Thomas Radetzki, the board of directors and executive director of the foundation, is a pioneer in organic beekeeping and has been conducting experimental and educational beekeeping for 35 years. To the extent necessary, we are also fighting for the protection of bees in German and European courts, as currently against the extension of the admission and approval of Glyphosat.

How do you finance yourself?

From donations, endowments and as much as possible from public funds. Unfortunately, our fortune is weak. That's why we still depend on financial support from civil society.

Have you had success in fighting bee killers?

I would not use the word killer bees like that. Guilt is not "the farmer" or "the gardener". We are all in a system that can be significantly improved.