Older crop sprays ‘more harmful’ than neonics

December 4, 2013

From: Farmers Weekly

The ban on neonicotinoid pesticides will see farmers rely on older, “dirtier” crop protection products which could have a worse effect on wildlife, say beekeepers.

An EU-wide suspension on the use of three neonicotinoids is set to come into force this Sunday (1 December).

In the absence of neonicotinoid seed treatments, farmers will have to switch to alternative spray pesticides, which could be more harmful to bees and other insects.

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) believes the ban could also make crop pests, such as aphids, more resistant.

The use of alternative pesticides, mainly pyrethroid foliar sprays, will become more widespread and these chemicals have to be sprayed on crops, such as oilseed rape, linseed and maize, up to four times a season, which poses environmental risks.

BBKA chairman David Aston said: “There is the potential of an increased risk to bees and other pollinators from the older chemicals. We would like to see reassurance that risk assessments for these technologies have been revised.”

In May, the European Commission introduced a two-year ban on the use of three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – on crops considered attractive to bees, such as oilseed rape, maize and sunflowers.

The ban was imposed after a study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded neonicotinoids posed a risk to bees’ health.

The NFU said the decision to restrict the use of neonicotinoids was not justified by the available scientific evidence and could have serious consequences for farmers’ ability to grow produce sustainably.

The union described the lack of an EU impact assessment to determine the effect on pollinators and crop production as “alarming”.

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