Category Archives: Farming

Landmark study shows pesticides damage bee colonies

The Guardian newspaper reports –

“Widely used insecticides damage the survival of honeybee colonies, the world’s largest ever field trial has shown for the first time, as well as harming wild bees.

The farm-based research, along with a second new study, also suggests widespread contamination of entire landscapes and a toxic “cocktail effect” from multiple pesticides.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/29/pesticides-damage-survival-of-bee-colonies-landmark-study-shows

BBC report – Pesticide ‘reduces bumblebee queen egg development’

“Use of a common pesticide in spring could have an impact on wild bumblebees by interfering with their life cycle, a UK study suggests.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39783990

The team, who looked at wild bumblebees caught in the English countryside, say the insecticide, thiamethoxam, reduces egg development in queen bees.

They say this is likely to reduce bee populations later in the year.

Thiamethoxam is one of three neonicotinoid insecticides currently restricted for use by the EU.They have been restricted amid concerns about their impact on wild bees.

The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society – B, investigated the impact of thiamethoxam on four species of bumblebee queen which had been captured in the wild in spring.”

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1854/20170123

Farms could cut pesticides without loss

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/06/farms-could-slash-pesticide-use-without-losses-research-reveals

The new research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Plants, analysed the pesticide use, productivity and profitability of almost 1,000 farms of all types across France. By comparing similar farms using high or low levels of pesticides, the scientists found that 94% of farms would lose no production if they cut pesticides and two-fifths of these would actually produce more.

The results were most startling for insecticides: lower levels would result in more production in 86% of farms and no farms at all would lose production.

The research also indicated that 78% of farms would be equally or more profitable when using less pesticide of all types.

Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides?

Draft regulations seen by the Guardian newspaper reveal the European commission wants to prohibit the insecticides that cause ‘acute risks to bees’

The world’s most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/23/europe-poised-for-total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides

“A legal loophole in an EU moratorium on pesticides”

POLITICO a Brussels based publication says:-

“From Suffolk in the U.K. to Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, Europe’s honeybees are facing a new threat: a legal loophole in an EU moratorium on pesticides.

Environmentalists had hoped that a 2013 temporary EU ban on pesticides suspected of impacting bee health would offer some respite to the Continent’s collapsing colonies. But 13 European governments have provided farmers and pesticide producers with permission to sidestep the regulations.”

http://www.politico.eu/article/europes-lost-colonies-bees-neonicotinoids/

Pesticide restrictions must be extended to wheat – new FoE report

Current EU restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides must be extended to wheat to protect bees and other wildlife, Friends of the Earth warns today (Thursday 5 January 2017) in a new report published at the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

https://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/bees-pesticide-restrictionss-must-be-extended-wheat-new-friends-earth-report

https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/farming-wheat-without-neonicotinoids-102577.pdf

Three neonicotinoid pesticides were banned on flowering crops in December 2013 after scientists concluded they posed a ”high acute risk” to honey bees when used on crops attractive to them. But these chemicals can still be used on other crops.
One of the restricted neonicotinoids (clothianidin) is widely used on wheat. In 2014 it was used on over 700,000 ha of wheat in the UK. This is greater than the total area of oilseed rape – a crop which is covered by the restrictions.

Pesticide restrictions must be extended to wheat – Friends of the Earth report

Current EU restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides must be extended to wheat to protect bees and other wildlife, Friends of the Earth warns today (Thursday 5 January 2017) in a new report published at the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

Three neonicotinoid pesticides were banned on flowering crops in December 2013 after scientists concluded they posed a ”high acute risk” to honey bees when used on crops attractive to them. But these chemicals can still be used on other crops.
One of the restricted neonicotinoids (clothianidin) is widely used on wheat. In 2014 it was used on over 700,000 ha of wheat in the UK. This is greater than the total area of oilseed rape – a crop which is covered by the restrictions.

https://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/bees-pesticide-restrictions-must-be-extended-wheat-new-friends-earth-report

Rapeseed Farmers not using Neonics

There are UK farmers growing, pressing and bottling their own rapeseed oil who care passionately about bees.  These are conventional farmers, not organic, so they do use pesticides.  But they’ve taken a big step and committed not to use these bee-harming neonicotinoids on their oilseed rape crops.

http://www.rapeseedoilguide.com/farmer-hillfarm

http://www.rapeseedoilguide.com/farmer-duchess-oil

http://www.rapeseedoilguide.com/farmer-bath-harvest

http://www.rapeseedoilguide.com/farmer-pure-kent

http://www.rapeseedoilguide.com/farmer-r-oil

EU scientists begin review of ban on pesticides linked to bee declines

The Guardian newspaper reports that “risk evaluation could pave the way for a rolling back of the hard won EU-wide ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides

The European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) has begun a review that could pave the way for rolling back a pioneering EU-wide ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides, that are thought to have ravaged European bee populations.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/07/eu-scientists-begin-review-ban-pesticides-linked-bee-declines

Sussex University Study – Neonicotinoids in Wildflowers

Recent fieldwork by Sussex University demonstrates that the current focus on exposure to pesticides via the crop overlooks an important factor: throughout spring and summer, mixtures of neonicotinoids are also found in the pollen and nectar of wildflowers growing in arable field margins, at concentrations that are sometimes even higher than those found in the crop. Water-soluble neonicotinoids travel from agricultural fields into the soil beneath wildflower strips.  The large majority (97%) of neonicotinoids brought back in pollen to honey bee hives in arable landscapes was from wildflowers, not crops.

Both previous and ongoing field studies have been based on the premise that exposure to neonicotinoids would occur only during the blooming period of flowering crops and that it may be diluted by bees also foraging on untreated wildflowers. This study shows that exposure is likely to be higher and more prolonged than currently recognized because of widespread contamination of wild plants growing near treated crops.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b03459

http://www.soilassociation.org/news/newsstory/articleid/8703/-new-research-exposes-secret-cocktail-of-toxic-pesticides-in-hedgerows-and-wildflowers