Neonicotinoids are pesticides banned across the EU because they have a devastating effect on bees. There are concerns, not just for honey production, but for pollination generally. The UK government, under pressure from the sugar industry, relaxed the ban to allow one of the pesticides to be used on sugar beet plants.

Researching what neonicotinoids are, I was struck by the commonality between the chemical structure and the honeycombs produced by bees. I thought of using the chemical structure as a way of showing how the pesticides can adversely affect pollination, ‘trapping’ the flowers within the chemical itself. Researching bee vision revealed that bees cannot see red light but can see UV (which we can’t). To simulate this to some extent, I took a series of floral photographs and removed the red channel in photoshop. While this is not exactly how a bee would see the flower, it is intended to give more of a sense of how it would be seen. I cropped the images and placed them to ‘suggest’ the chemical structure.

A new set of postage stamps was about to be issued by the Royal Mail featuring flowers. I decided to create my own set of stamps using the images I had created and placing the chemical structure to replace the King’s head. Similar to the newly issued stamps, I replaced the plant name with that of the neonicotinoid pesticide. 

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