Posted: 14.01.21 at 08:24 by The Editor
Somerset bee keepers have reacted to news that the government has allowed the use of a toxic pesticide.
The chair of the county bee keepers said that even the so-called 'limited use' as promised by the government is too much.
Stewart Gould, Chairman of Somerset Beekeepers’ Association told Nub News : " We know that the intended derogation of neo-nicotinoid use is for a limited period and to be used on sugar beet seed, a plant which is harvested before it flowers, and one that doesn’t attract bees,
but systemic neonicotinoids, thiomethoxam in this case, are not selective, and are poisonous to all insects, threatening bees and all other pollinators in particular.
"Despite being systemic, 95 per cent of neonicotinoid seed treatments end up in the soil, disrupting soil life or getting dispersed in dust to
nearby crops, and running off into our waterways, increasing the amount of pollution in already badly tainted streams and rivers, and killing fish into the bargain.
"Some will find their way into plants bordering the sugar beet, which are attractive to pollinators. They are fairly persistent in the environment (half-lives typically between 200-1000 days).
"Apart from being toxic to all insects, and harmful to most other animals, they are also hazardous to humans. Intelligent regulation must accept that there is no safe level for a neuro-toxin or endocrine disrupter, only degrees of risk and levels of benefit. One third of food is dependent on insect pollination and in the UK insects pollinate 70 types of crop – strawberries to cabbages.”
The government announced on January 8 that it had agreed what it calls "emergency" use of a neonicotinoid seed treatment.
They have insisted that it will only be for limited use only on the 2021 sugar beet crop arguing that emerging sugar beet seedlings are vulnerable to predation by aphids which have the potential to spread beet yellows virus. Sugar beet crops have been severely affected and 2020 yields are forecast to be down by 20-25% on previous years.
The Department of the Environment insisted that the neonicotinoid Syngenta’s Cruiser SB will provide emergency protection while the beet industry develops alternative solutions.
Conditions of the authorisation include reduced application rate as well as a prohibition on any flowering crop being planted in the same field where the product has been used within 22 months of sugar beet and a prohibition on oilseed rape being planted with 32 months of sugar beet.
A Defra spokesperson said:
“Emergency authorisations for pesticides are only granted in exceptional circumstances where diseases or pests cannot be controlled by any other reasonable means. Emergency authorisations are used by countries across Europe.
“Pesticides can only be used where we judge there to be no harm to human health and animal health and no unacceptable risks to the environment. The temporary use of this product is strictly limited to a non-flowering crop and will be tightly controlled to minimise any potential risk to pollinators.”
You can sign the petition against the emergency use by clicking HERE : the parliament site