Stop using pesticides as seed dressings and sprays in flower beds and greenspace
Overall effectiveness category Evidence not assessed
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Plants growing within urban landscapes, such as in flower beds and greenspaces, could provide important habitat for wildlife, including butterflies and moths. However, these areas are often subject to intense management, including regular doses of pesticides which can kill butterflies and moths. Managing public areas without the use of pesticides may help to support butterfly and moth populations in urban areas.
For other management options for urban greenspaces, see “Stop using herbicides on pavements and road verges”, “Residential and commercial development – Plant parks and gardens with appropriate native species” and “Residential and commercial development – Alter mowing regimes on greenspaces and road verges”.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, site comparison study in 2009–2011 in 3,722 private gardens in France (Muratet & Fontaine 2015) found that there was a higher abundance of butterflies in gardens where insecticides and herbicides were not used, compared to where they were, and where there were more natural features, but a lower abundance of butterflies where fungicides and snail pellets were not used compared to where they were. There were significantly more butterflies in gardens that used no pesticides (average: 7) than those with insecticide (average: 6) and herbicide (average: 7) use, but fewer butterflies in gardens that did not use conventional (average: 7) or Bordeaux mixture (average: 7) fungicides or snail pellets (average: 7). There was no difference in abundance between gardens that did and did not use fertilizer. Additionally, there were more butterflies in gardens which had more “natural” features, such as fallow plots, nettles, ivy, brambles and dead trees (data presented as model results). Data was obtained from a citizen monitoring scheme across France. Monthly from March–October participants submitted information about their gardens, including the number of butterflies seen, the presence of fallow plots, nettles, ivy, brambles and dead trees, and whether they use chemicals in gardening.Study and other actions tested