Here is a list of only some of the additional independent evidence (regarding the dangers of neonicotinoids to bees and inadequacies of the regulatory system), that have been produced since the initial evidence was presented in the Buglife report of 2009, and yet contrary to the notion that “Ministers will not hesitate to act however if presented with any new evidence” This evidence has been ignored thus far:
Links between nosema, neonicotinoids and nosema in bees:
- Cédric Alaux et al: Interactions between Nosema microspores and a neonicotinoid weaken honeybees (Apis mellifera) – Published 2009; Environmental Microbiology.
- Cyril Vidau et al: Exposure to Sublethal Doses of Fipronil and Thiacloprid Highly Increases Mortality of Honeybees Previously Infected by Nosema ceranae - Published 2011; PLoS ONE
- Jeffery S. Pettis et al: Pesticide exposure in honey bees results in increased levels of the gut pathogen Nosema – Published 2011; Naturwissenschaften.
- Judy Y. Wu et al: Honey bees (Apis mellifera) reared in brood combs containing high levels of pesticide residues exhibit increased susceptibility to Nosema (Microsporidia) infection; Published January 10 2012; Journal of Invertebrate Pathology.
Additionally, the Bayer Premise 200SC leaflet admits that imidacloprid makes pathogenic soil fungi 10,000 times more dangerous to termites (social colony insects, like bees).
27. The final results of a 2 year project by FERA were published (2007 - 2008), and indicate that 45% of the colonies had nosema – 8% of which had 2 strains:
Other important research papers:
- Henk A. Tennekes: The significance of the Druckrey–Küpfmüller equation for risk assessment—The toxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to arthropods is reinforced by exposure time. Published 2010; Toxicology.
- Schneider et al: RFID Tracking of Sublethal Effects of Two Neonicotinoid Insecticides on the Foraging Behavior of Apis mellifera: Published January 2012; PlosOne.
- V. Girolami et al: Translocation of Neonicotinoid Insecticides From Coated Seeds to Seedling Guttation Drops: A Novel Way of Intoxication for Bees: Published 2009; Entomological Society of America.
- Mommaerts et al: Risk assessment for side-effects of neonicotinoids against bumblebees with and without impairing foraging behaviour. Published 2010, Ecotoxicology.
- Krupke et al: Multiple Routes of Pesticide Exposure for Honey Bees Living Near Agricultural Fields – (Field Study) - Published January 3, 2012; PlosOne.
- Andrea Tapparo et al : Assessment of the Environmental Exposure of Honeybees to Particulate Matter Containing Neonicotinoid Insecticides Coming from Corn Coated Seeds – Published January 31, 2012; Environmental Science And Technology.
- Johnson RM et al: Ecologically Appropriate Xenobiotics Induce Cytochrome P450s in Apis mellifera (Honey diet promotes better detoxification of poisons in honeybees than sugar diet – unless those poisons are imidacloprid or tau-fluvalinate) – Published February 3, 2012: PLoS ONE 7.
- Tennekes HA, Sánchez-Bayo F: Time-Dependent Toxicity of Neonicotinoids and Other Toxicants: Implications for a New Approach to Risk Assessment. J Environment (Current toxicological risk assessment can lead to serious underestimates of actual risk of neonicotinoids); Published December 07, 2011: Environmental & Analytical Toxicology.
To state that the conclusion from the Buglife report was that it highlighted the need for more data on overwintering bees (as implied by Fera and the ACP) is very far from the truth – the report went significantly beyond that, highlighting in 2009 the need for changes to the pesticides regulatory system, and broader consideration of the impact of neonicotinoids and Fipronil on the wider invertebrate population, such as wild pollinators. (That said, when will these studies investigating risk to overwintering bees be published and available for public scrutiny?).
Civil servants have a duty to consider the strength of this independent evidence as well as its quality, and also to heed the Precautionary Principle which is enshrined in Directive 91/414 which states that “Member States shall ensure that a plant protection product is not authorized unless…..it has no unacceptable influence on the environment.” “Authorizations may be reviewed at any time if there are indications that any of the requirements….are no longer satisfied.”
I urge you to ban neonicotinoids immediately and to urgently address the inadequacies of our pesticides regulatory system.
(1)The vast majority of insect species are actually harmless or beneficial. Around a million insect species have now been discovered: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/publications/other/species-numbers/2009/03-exec-summary.html#invertebrates. Meanwhile, according to the British Natural History Museum, Globally, “Only 1000 species of insect are considered to be agricultural pests. Each year they destroy between 10 and 15 percent of the World’s agricultural produce” – and according to the UN, we waste a THIRD (33.333%) of food produced globally EVERY YEAR – mostly in the West.
(2) Mommaerts et al: Risk assessment for side-effects of neonicotinoids against bumblebees with and without impairing foraging behaviour. Published 2010, Ecotoxicology.
(3)Dave Goulson: Bumblebees Behaviour And Ecology, p 6.
(4) Halm et al “New Risk Assessment Approach for Systemic Insecticides: The Case of Honey Bees and Imidacloprid (Gaucho)” (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006, 40, 2448-2454) published in 2006.
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