For a few years now there have been concerns raised about the effect of Neonicotinoid pesticides on honeybee health. Use of these has been banned in some countries whilst research is carried out into the risks. Early this week, Martin Smith, President of the BBKA issued the following statement:
Statement from the BBKA on Neonicotinoid Pesticides
The BBKA shares the concerns expressed relating to reports of possible harm to honey bees that may be caused by the neonicotinoid group of pesticides. It calls for an urgent review of all the available data on the effects of these compounds. The BBKA has consistently urged for more research into this group of compounds as evidenced in its paper Honey Bee Health Research Concepts (Jan 2009) and earlier papers submitted to Government. The BBKA itself is funding research on pesticide residues in bee colonies at Keele University.
This urgent review, based not only on existing literature but also encompassing any new and as yet unpublished data, should involve a thorough re-evaluation and up to date risk assessment of these agents and their effects on honey bees by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate in the UK and competent European authorities, the outcome of which must lead to appropriate action.
24th January 2011
Yesterday there was a debate in Parliament on the same topic. Some of the problems which have occured in europe with these pesticides when used as a seed coating are believed to have been caused by errors in the way in which the coating was applied, and the way that the seeds were sown. Whilst it isn’t certain that there is a problem with these pesticides, there is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to justify the calls for a further review of the available data. Lets hope that something does actually get done.