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New report from European Food Safety Authority deems neonicotinoid insecticides as a high risk to honeybees

21/01/2013 11:02:10
uk/uk_2010/bluebell_bee_pg_wx

Wild pollinators such as bumblebees and moths contribute about 90% of UK insect pollination, which is worth £510 million to British farmers.

Buglife welcomes new report establishing neonicotinoid insecticides as high risk to bees

January 2013. Wildlife charity, Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust has welcomed a report released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that deems neonicotinoid insecticides as a high risk to honeybees and also highlights the gaps in research on how neonicotinoids might affect other pollinators such as bumblebees.

EFSA's scientists have evaluated the risks that bees face from the insecticides Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam. The report concludes that "only uses on crops not attractive to honeybees were considered acceptable" because of exposure through nectar and pollen.

Honeybees at high risk from neonicotinoids dust
The EFSA also found that honeybees were at a high risk from neonicotinoids dust clouds created by drilling treated seeds into the ground and from guttation fluid (water sweated out by leaves and ingested by insects); risks which are not normally assessed when regulating pesticides. In addition, the EFSA report also identified ‘limited information' about the risk posed by neonicotinoids to populations of wild pollinators such as bumblebees.

In September 2012 Defra produced a report that stated that ‘no change in the existing regulation of Neonicotinoids is required'.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife CEO said "Buglife has been asking the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to follow the correct legal process, apply the precautionary principle and suspend all neonicotinoid insecticides immediately. We hope that these important findings will spur Defra into taking action".

Bumblebees and moths
"Wild pollinators such as bumblebees and moths contribute about 90% of UK insect pollination, which is worth £510 million to British farmers. Buglife is calling for stronger pesticide testing and regulation to ensure these important pollinators are considered in the future".

Buglife has been concerned for some years that pesticide regulation is not able to identify chemicals that will damage populations of wild, non-target, invertebrates. In 2009 Buglife produced a scientific review that recommended that neonicotinoids, including three additional neonicotinoid pesticides not covered by the EFSA report, about which there is also a lack of evidence indicating environmental safety, should be withdrawn until their environmental safety is established.

Since 2009, at least 33 published scientific studies have shown Neonicotinoids to present a greater environmental safety risk than that set out in the official risk assessment.

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