Further evidence shows bees at risk from neonicotinoid pesticides

New assessments demonstrating the risk to bees from neonicotinoid pesticides have been published by the European Food Safety Authority. These assessments draw on more than 1,500 scientific studies and conclude that the pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam all pose a high risk to both wild bees and honeybees.

Buff-tailed bumblebee © Jon Hawkins

Our Chief Executive Jonny Hughes said: “We welcome the publication of this important evidence-based study. People in Scotland care about bees and banning harmful neonicotinoids is something we can do to help them.

“Pollinators are an essential part of our environment. Without them we wouldn’t have seeds and fruit that many other animals rely on for food. And when you consider that crop pollination has an estimated value of £43 million per year to Scotland’s economy, it is clear that the use of agricultural pesticides that harm pollinators could have serious hidden costs in the longer term.

“This comprehensive assessment should provide more than enough evidence for the Scottish Government to show its support for a full ban of the use of these harmful chemicals.

“While the majority of the studies used to develop this assessment relate to honeybees there is plenty of evidence to show that other pollinators including bumblebees, solitary bees and butterflies are being harmed in a similar way.

Wildflower meadow with yellow rattle
Wildflower meadow with yellow rattle © Lee Schofield

“Chemical dependent agriculture that works against nature is failing all over the world. Integrated Pest Management is the future. This will enable farmers to grow healthy crops while minimising or eliminating the use of harmful pesticides.”

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has been calling for a ban on pesticides containing clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam since 2012. Since that time an increasing numbers of reports have shown the negative effects on these chemicals on honeybees and wild pollinators including bumblebees, butterflies and solitary bees.

This includes the IUCN Task Force on Systemic Pesticide’s comprehensive Worldwide Integrated Assessment published in 2015. This concluded that “large-scale use of systemic insecticides is having significant unintended negative ecological consequences”.

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Preface

New assessments demonstrating the risk to bees from neonicotinoid pesticides have been published by the European Food Safety Authority. These assessments draw on more than 1,500 scientific studies and conclude …

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