Did Victorian Pesticides Kill Bees?

Mr Woodley poses the question as to whether ‘spraying fruit-trees is prejudicial to beeculture?’ in other words does spraying fruit-trees kill bees?

Victorians used arsenic based pesticides, some with exotic names such as ‘Paris Green’ and ‘London Purple’. The answer to Mr Woodley’s question is not as straight forward as it would first appear.  A tragic turn of events in 1925 reveals the real nature of pesticide spraying.  I explain all in my latest video.



5 thoughts on “Did Victorian Pesticides Kill Bees?

  1. Thank you. One wonders if pesticide companies, knowing they would lose pollination due to the repellent effect mentioned, might do something to make it more enticing to pollinators in order to retain the pollination. It would be a short term fix with disasterous long term effects but that seems plausible.

  2. Luckily, the advice at the time was not the spray when the fruit trees were in bloom. I am not sure whether this was because they were mindful of pollinators or the fact that the arsenic based pesticides could ‘scorch’ the trees; the pesticide mixture had to be mixed by hand, so you would get a can of say ‘Paris Green’ and you would add water. If the mixture was too strong it would scorch.
    In some quarters of the fruit growing fraternity there was some awareness about the importance of pollinators to their business and so spraying was used more prudently. I believe, because mono-cropping was both more prevalent and larger in scale in the United States compared to Britain, the insect/pest problem was larger. Resultantly, spraying in the United States was both more necessary and more frequent.
    Anyway, thanks for your comment. 🙂

  3. I was impressed by your video – you have a flair for storytelling. What software did you use to make it?

    1. Thanks Emily. I have an iMac and I use ‘iMovie’ software. I think the secret is having a Mac, pc’s are just not up to the job when it comes to video editing.

      1. Thanks. I have a Mac too.

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