Vrijdag 5 april 2013 verscheen het rapport van de Britse parlementaire enquette naar de misstanden bij de toelating van neonicotinoide insecticiden. Het parlementaire onderzoek waarin in uren lange zittingen gericht op waarheidsvinding tal van wetenschappers en industriemensen stevig aan de tand gevoeld zijn komt tot heldere conclusies. Er zijn grote redenen tot zorg dat het grootschalig gebruik van neonicotinoiden bijdraagt aan de sterke achteruitgang van wilde bestuivende insecten en bijdraagt aan de toegenomen problemen in de hongingbijenhouderij. Met de toelating is veel mis en de recente veldstudie waarmee Dr. Helen Thompson van Food and Environment Research Agency de eerdere veldstudie van Whitehorn ea (2012) (naar de lange termijn effecten van imidacloprid op het aantal koninginnen per hommelvolk) onderuit dacht te halen, is wetenschappelijk ver beneden de maat. De bevindingen van Whitehorn dat imidacloprid bij normaal toegelaten gebruik zeer schadelijk is voor hommels, blijven overeind.
Belangrijkste aanbeveling, unaniem gedragen door alle partijen in het lagerhuis :
Per 1 januari 2014 moeten imidacloprid, clothianidine en thiamethoxam in Engeland voorlopig worden verboden in voor bijen aantrekkelijke gewassen. Alle toelatingen voor particulier gebruik moeten per direct ingetrokken. De Britse regering moet zich daarnaast inzetten voor een Europees verbod.
Researchers from the University of Reading have shown that wild bees are the unsung heroes for our food security and not honeybees as previously thought.
An investigation by Buglife – the Invertebrate Conservation Trust has revealed that contrary to statements made by Government scientists from the National Bee Unit on yesterday’s Channel 4 News item - http://www.channel4.com/news/bee-decline-not-caused-by-pesticides -, there is evidence of an increasing link between Neonicotinoid pesticides and bee deaths in Britain.
[From Buzzaboutbees.net Feb 2011]
Varroa mite is one of the biggest threats to honey bee colonies. In the UK, it was first discovered in 1992. Exposure to this pest causes viruses and diseases to be transmitted to honey bees, such as Deformed Wing Virus. But could it be that neonicotinoid pesticides play a role in Varroa too?
Since 2001, the British Bee Keepers Association has been receiving in the region of £17,500 per annum from pesticide manufacturers Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and Belchim in return for the BBKA's endorsement of several insecticides as 'bee-friendly'.
The BBKA policy of accepting money from such corporations, taken without consulting the membership, has been condemned by many of its members, other European bee keeping associations and some NGOs as unethical.
While the Executive have now changed their mind again and have dropped the direct endorsement of pesticides, there are still some very important questions that remain unanswered.
And - importantly - they have not ruled out accepting money from the pesticide manufacturers under other pretexts.
We call on the BBKA to sever all financial ties to manufacturers, sellers and promoters of any substance known to be or likely to be toxic to bees or other insects.
Philip Chandler, Friends of the Bees
Dr. Hugh Salvesen, Trustee, Natural Beekeeping Trust
Read the full open letter and the 10 questions
The Independent, 7 Jan 2011
Nicotine, found in tobacco, is a deadly substance – and not only for smokers. It has long been known as a powerful natural insecticide, and its presence in the tobacco crop has evolved to deter pests; it is toxic to virtually all of them.
In the great mysterious crash of bee populations, which has been gathering speed around the world for the past decade or so, and which has started to alarm even governments because of the vast worth of bee pollination to the agricultural economy (more than £12bn annually just in Europe), neonicotinoids are increasingly suspect. In the great crash of other insect populations which has similarly been taking place, about which governments do not give a toss but which nonetheless threatens the natural environment with catastrophe (many insectivorous birds are dropping dramatically in numbers), neonicotinoids are similarly in the frame.
Read the full story in The Independent:
The Times, May 6, 2010
Can the struggling honeybee be pulled back from the brink by a hive of scientific industry?
The UK Government conservation agency’s chief scientist, Tom Tew, is urging people living in towns and cities to take up bee- keeping to halt the perilous decline in numbers. “There’s no reason why our towns and cities should exist as wildlife deserts – wildlife can thrive when we design our urban areas with nature in mind and bee-keeping is a great example of how easy it is for anyone to bring the natural world closer to their doorstep,” he says. On the fifth storey of the World Museum Liverpool, on William Brown Street, bees buzz merrily. “It’s beautiful honey,” enthuses Paul Finnegan, manager of the museum’s bug house. “Very sweet and very pure.”
Following a meeting in Downing Street today, the Soil Association has welcomed the fact that the gardens at the Prime Minister's residence has become organic. 10 Downing Street has now joined the White House in being a source - albeit small - of organic food production.
Vital research into the decline of pollinating insects will be carried out by scientists from the University of Northampton after £57,000 of funding was awarded by a charitable trust. The Finnis Scott Foundation will provide three years worth of funding for a PhD student to study pollinator diversity in the gardens of large English country houses in the region. Recent studies have suggested some regions have seen an 80 per cent drop in bee numbers as a result of intensive farming, loss of habitat and the over-use of pesticides.
A new study appears to have confirmed suspicions that the neonicotinoid group of pesticides is in part responsible for the dramatic decline in UK honeybee numbers, the Telegraph reports. Insect research charity Buglife and the Soil Association "brought together a number of peer-reviewed pieces of research" which demonstrate that neonicotinoids "damage the health and life cycle of bees over the long term by affecting the nervous system". Matt Shardlow, Buglife chief exec, said: “Other countries have already introduced bans to prevent neonicotinoids from harming bees. This is the most comprehensive review of the scientific evidence yet and it has revealed the disturbing amount of damage these poisons can cause." Peter Melchett, director of the Soil Association, added: “The UK is notorious for taking the most relaxed approach to pesticide safety in the EU. Buglife’s report shows that this puts at risk pollination services vital for UK agriculture."
The Netherlands is not the only country that started a petition to ask policy makers to take measures to stop honeybee decline. The UK Soil Association has started a petition calling on the Government to protect honeybees and ban neonicotinoid pesticides. See:
The text of the petition is:
We, the undersigned support the Soil Association in calling on Hilary Benn, the UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to ban neonicotinoid pesticides with immediate effect. These pesticides have been shown to kill honeybees and are thought to be a contributory factor in the recent dramatic increase in honeybee deaths.
In a briefing paper the background of the petition is explained.
June 16, 2009 Press Association Newsfile, Emily Beament, Press Association Environment Correspondent
Honeybees are making a comeback to Kew Gardens today as part of a campaign to encourage people to grow bee-friendly flowers in their gardens.
Bradford Telegraph and Argus, June 10, 2009
It's almost a century since Rupert Brook ended a poem by asking whether there would still be honey for tea. Unfortunately that question is now very relevant.
The UK bee population fell by a third a couple of winters ago, and this means honey is now more expensive, particularly as we eat about 25,000 tonnes each year and produce just 4,000 tonnes. With each teaspoon of honey requiring the work of a dozen bees, we can do with every one of them, and this probably explains the current rash of hive rustling.
More wild flowers should be planted on derelict land, roadside verges and other public spaces to save honey bees, the Women's Institute believes.
The number of bumblebees in the UK has declined by around 70 per cent since the 1970s and honey bees by up to 15 per cent in the last two years, according go official Government figures.
The sudden decline in bees has been blamed on intensive farming techniques, climate change and a mysterious condition known as colony collapse disorder. It could cause serious problems for agriculture and food production since bees are essential to pollinate many plants.
Daily Post (Liverpool) May 25, 2009, North Wales Edition
The Assembly Government has announced a pounds 486,000 boost for beleaguered Welsh honeybees.
Aberdeen Press and Journal, May 20, 2009 Wednesday
DECLINING bee numbers is one of the "most worrying" environmental changes on the planet and will drastically hit food production, including Scotland's soft fruit output, if not reversed, according to a Highland MSP.
Labour MSP Peter Peacock said the decline of honey bees and other insects had been happening unnoticed and yet had profound implications for everyone.
It is estimated 84% of crops in the EU and 80% of wildflowers rely on insect pollination.
The Independent (London), May 18, 2009 Monday
By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
For decades, Britain's native black bee has been an outcast. The Victorians threw Apis mellifera mellifera out of hives in favour of more industrious foreign species. Modern beekeepers brand it lazy and aggressive.
Now, the nation's original honeybee is coming in from the cold. Scientists believe the insect that made honey for the tables of medieval kings could reverse the collapse of bee numbers that has imperilled the annual pollination of crops worth £165m.