Neonicotinoid Myths
And Flawed Arguments

I have heard many ideas that I would consider to be neonicotinoid myths, as well as flawed arguments over the years - in my view, mostly to justify not banning them, or defend using them.

Below are links to some of the articles available on this website. 

Also, do see my page Neonicotinoids And Bees.  It has links to further information about this issue.

Neonicotinoids Are Used In Australia, but they don't have problems with honey bee colony losses
The assertion is, therefore, that neonicotinoids cannot be a cause of bee deaths  – is this true?

A further link to the Australian scenario.

Neonicotinoids are properly tested
Is this true?  A look at how neonicotinoids sale through the regulatory system.

Crops will fail or decline in output if we don't use neonicotinoids
Evidence actually finds that if anything, research from the US suggests neonics hamper crop harvest.  Meanwhile, following restrictions to neonicotinoid use on oil seed rape in the UK and Europe, this was the result.

Farmers only apply pesticides when necessary
Not true.  Farmers are often misinformed about 'pest threat' which is costly for them as it means they may use insecticides unnecessarily.

Farmers need to be given truly independent information about crop pest threat.  I believe this would reduce the use of toxins substantially.  The insurance system for farmers needs to reflect this need.

Dead honey bees.

If We Don't Use Pesticides, We'll Have A Food Shortage
This is partly covered within the page linked to above, i.e. a paragraph which links to evidence suggesting more ecologically friendly farming practices outperform intensive methods. The Global Policy Forum advocates control of food supply by a few wealthy corporations and the affluent as a cause of food crisis.  Meanwhile, over exploitation of the environment is one of the causes of hunger, according to this United Nations summary (Update - link to report now inactive).  

And what else do the UN say causes hunger?  It's not insect pests, it's: war, environmental degradation, agricultural infrastructures (roads etc), poverty and natural disasters.

France has banned neonicotinoids but they're losing bees
This is not correct.

All Neonicotinoids Have Been Banned In The EU – Are Bees Protected Now?
This information is false.  Some neonicotinoids have been restricted, and it won’t make much difference.  At the time of writing (October 2013), Bayer Cropscience and Syngenta are challenging the EU ruling. Update:  The EU have approved 3 'next generation' neonicotinoids.

Will Older Insecticides Be More Harmful To Bees Than Neonicotinoids?
Response to an article in The Times Newspaper, explaining why this is an invalid argument for banning or restricting neonicotinoids.

Response to an article in Amateur Gardening Magazine and on their website pushing this and other flawed points.


Honey Bee Declines Have Happened In The Past Many Years Ago – So How Can We Blame Insecticides Today?
This would be a bit like watching people drink poison and die, but then saying "ah yes, but lots of people died of the black plague in London in 1665, so how can we accuse the poison of killing people?".  Response to a surprisingly ridiculous government argument.

Internationally, We Have A Robust Systems For Assessing Pesticides
In actual fact, the regulatory system is largely put together by industry, and very few invertebrate species are subject to assessment.


Varroa Mite Is The Cause Of Decline
Aside from the fact that Varroa Mite applies to honey bees only, and not to other species in decline......but could there be a link between neonicotinoids and Varroa in honey bees?

There Is No Point Banning Neonicotinoids
Bee declines are caused by various factors – regardless, should neonicotinoids be tested properly and robustly before they are authorised for use, or not?  Should insecticides proven to harm or pose unacceptable risk to bees, be banned or not?  Regardless of whether there are other factors causing problems for bees, is this an excuse for inaction on neonicotinoids?

I have not necessarily covered on my website, all of the neonicotinoid myths and flawed arguments I have come across over the years.  For one thing, it's very time consuming! 

Also, new ones keep coming up.  For example, I recently read a report that the case against neonicotinoids was unproven based on government statistics from Canada had been taken from just 2 provinces - and neither of these provinces were major agricultural producers of crops that would use neonicotinoids - they were mostly rearing livestock.  Yet these statistics were used to paint a picture for the whole country.

Why would the Canadian government and its civil servants do such a thing?  Perhaps for the same reason that UK civil servants would mislead the British people, and the US EPA would grant marketing authorisation to a toxin despite incomplete evidence?

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