I have heard it claimed that Australia's honey bees are healthy despite the fact that neonicotinoids are used there.
The question is raised: “If neonicotinoids kill bees, why aren’t Australian beekeepers losing theirs?” or “Neonicotinoids are used in Australia and they have healthy honey bees”.
is this true? Is everything hunky dory for Australia's honey bees?
What do we know about Australian beekeepers and their experience of neonicotinoids, honey bees and beekeeping?
June 2007 a very revealing document was produce by Mr Warren Jones, President
of the Australian Crop Pollinators Association - see right.
Warren Jones explains about his role:
“I am the President of the Crop Pollination Association Inc. This association represents the beekeeper pollinators that service agriculture's pollination requirements across a broad range of crops in all eastern states, Western Australia,Tasmania and NT, which has no members at present.
We provide representation to AHBIC, the peak body established to represent all sectors of beekeeping.”
You’ll see from the document that Warren Jones’ experience and service to agriculture spans 34 years.
In relation to this issue, of particular interest to me was this comment:
By Autumn 2009, Warren Jones comments to The Australian Organic Producer in “Where Have All The Bees Gone?”:
(find it, by copying and pasting this link into a new web page: http://www.bfa.com.au/Portals/0/BFAFiles/AUT09-where-have-bees-gone.pdf )
In this feature, he makes it very clear that he sees neonicotinoids as representing a real threat to Australia's honey bees, and comments:
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Gibbs, writing on Australia's bees and beekeeping in his article To Australian Beekeepers from an Australian Beekeeper, highlights concerns about neonicotinoids and provides some interesting cultural insight into perhaps why Australian beekeepers seem to have been relatively quiet on this issue – or at least not making a major public fuss. The feature has some interesting quotes too, such as:
(What Jack is perhaps referring to when he says: "Jack is concerned about the pollen of Turnip Weed and Salvation Jane coming up afterwards, in the same paddocks" is the fact that neonicotinoids are persistent – i.e. they remain in the soil after use has ceased. They can then be taken up by other plants growing in that soil, and because they are systemic pesticides, they permeate the plant as it grows, and the poison may then be presented to bees and other non-target insects, through nectar and pollen, at toxic levels. This effect has been observed in scientific studies, such as Bonmatin et al 2004).
In September 2012, this item was published on the net: Concern from beekeepers prompts review of some insecticides:
Find it, by copying and pasting this link into a new web page:
So contrary to the view that Australia’s bees are having no problem with neonicotinoids, there is evidence that suggests otherwise. Seems like yet another argument to defend neonicotinoids that is not based in truth.
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