BCPC has joined with others in the crop protection industry, in writing to the Secretary of State The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP to oppose the ban on neonicotinicide seed treatments.
“There is clear evidence that bee health is a
serious cause for concern”
In September 2009, the environmental organisation Buglife issued a report calling for a ban on the outdoor use of a number of seed treatments but the industry believes the report is flawed in a number of respects.
“There is clear evidence that bee health is a serious cause for concern”, warns Dr Ruscoe, chairman BCPC, “However, contrary to the Buglife report, there is no basis to suggest neonicotinoid seed treatments are having an effect on bee health. In fact the general consensus among scientists, regulators and bee keepers is that high levels of disease and parasitic mites such as Varroa are having the greatest impact on bee populations. If anti-pesticide groups, backing the Buglife report, continue to claim there is a link between a decline in the bee population and insecticidal seed treatments it will deflect resources and research efforts away from the main issues.”
Studies carried out in France, Germany and the US have concluded that there is no correlation between health and the correct use of seed treatments. If there is a ban on these highly effective seed treatments the result could be crop failure due to pest attack, and an increase in the use of other broad-spectrum insecticides.
“We at BCPC have welcomed Defra’s allocation of £4.3million into bee health research and will certainly support a co-ordinated research programme in the UK to identify the causes of declining bee health and find solutions to improving colony survival and safeguarding an essential pollinator,” concludes Dr Ruscoe.
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