UK field studies show no link between neonicotinoid insecticides and bee health
The Crop Protection Association has welcomed two new pieces of research commissioned by the UK Government which have found no evidence of a link between neonicotinoid insecticide use and bee health.

During a debate in the House of Commons on 26 March, agriculture minister David Heath confirmed that the results of research into the field effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments on bumble bee colonies showed no relationship between colony growth and neonicotinoid residues in pollen or nectar in the colonies.

The research, conducted by the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), reinforces previous advice by Government scientists and the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides that the evidence available does not indicate harmful effects of neonicotinoid use on bees under field conditions. 

A second study published by Defra on 27 March, assessing the key evidence available on neonicotinoids and bees, found that laboratory based studies demonstrating sub-lethal effects on bees from neonicotinoids did not replicate realistic conditions.

Commenting on the new research, CPA chief executive Nick von Westenholz said: "The crop protection sector welcomes the robust, evidence-based approach taken by Defra on this issue, which stands in stark contrast to the knee-jerk response we have seen in Brussels. Both these studies underline the importance of taking extreme care when extrapolating the findings of laboratory studies to the field.

"This latest research confirms that a ban on the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments would be unlikely to improve bee health, whilst removing a key crop protection technology which is  vital for economically and environmentally sustainable crop production in the UK and across Europe. I hope it will encourage those who have been calling for a ban on products such as these to take a step back and consider what measures are really needed to protect bee health, rather than simplistically blaming the nearest chemical. These products undergo an incredibly rigorous approvals process, which ensures their environmental impact is minimised. Removing crop protection products from use is not "playing it safe", but has serious implications for the production of safe and affordable food in the UK and Europe. During a debate in the House of Commons on 26 March, agriculture minister David Heath confirmed that the results of research into the field effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments on bumble bee colonies showed no relationship between colony growth and neonicotinoid residues in pollen or nectar in the colonies. 

Share with
Media Enquiries
Adam Speed
Adam Speed
Communications Manager
01733 355375
07884 586400
adam.s@cropprotection.org.uk
Wendy Gray
Wendy Gray
Membership & Events Manager
01733 355374
07590 745695
wendy@cropprotection.org.uk