Sussex bee scientists question value of neonics ban

June 26th, 2013 in Biology / Plants & Animals
Honey bee on Sedum.


Honey bee on Sedum.

The European Commission's two-year moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides is no "triumph for bee conservation", say University of Sussex bee scientists.

In fact, say Norman Carreck and Professor Francis Ratnieks from the university's Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI), scientific evidence both against and in favour of the ban is "far from clear-cut".

Norman Carreck has been keeping bees for more than 30 years and has been studying bee diseases for more than 20 years. Professor Ratnieks is the UK's only Professor of Apiculture.

Norman Carreck says: "It is not clear what purpose this two-year moratorium will serve, unless it is used to answer some of the outstanding questions."

In April 2013, the European Commission voted on and implemented a two-year moratorium on the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides on "bee attractive crops" following risk assessment reports from the European Food Standards Agency.

Neonicotinoids are a group of systemic insecticides used as a seed dressing for that has been linked with a decline in the numbers of both managed (honey bees) and wild (bumblebees, ) species.

Professor Ratnieks' and Mr Carreck's review of the research literature and the controversy surrounding neonicotinoids is published today (26 June 2013) in Research Fortnight.

Among the review's observations:

The authors conclude: "Many fundamental questions remain unanswered, and may still be so when the moratorium ends. We risk having the same debate in two years' time."

'Will a moratorium on save the ?', by Norman Carreck and Francis Ratnieks, will be published in print in Research Fortnight (26 June 2013), and will be freely available online at www.researchresearch.com

Provided by University of Sussex

"Sussex bee scientists question value of neonics ban." June 26th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-06-sussex-bee-scientists-neonics.html