The French Minister of Agriculture has announced his intention to ban Syngenta’s pesticide ‘Cruiser’ from the French market in a few weeks time; ‘Cruiser’ is largely used on oilseed rape and contains the neonicotinoid ‘Thiamethoxam’, which recent studies in ‘Science’ have revealed to be harmful to bees ability to forage and navigate.
Other studies have revealed that this pesticide affects bumblebees and other pollinators in a similar harmful manner.
Thiamethoxam was used on over 736,000 acres of crops in the UK in 2010.
Here are the most recent figures for Thiamethoxam in the UK (2010) – as you will see, the usage increased TENFOLD from 2009 to 2010. It stood at 298,000 hectares – or 736,000 acres in 2010. We do not know what the usage was for 2011 but presumably if the rate of increase is sustained it could well be over a million hectares now?
THIAMETHOXAM USAGE IN THE UK
Year Region Crop Group Active Substance Total Area Treated (ha) Total Weight Applied (kg)
2010 Great Britain All Crops Thiamethoxam 298,007 9,105
2009 Great Britain All Crops Thiamethoxam 22,567 938
2008 Great Britain All Crops Thiamethoxam 21,909 940
2007 Great Britain All Crops Thiamethoxam 1,333 5.6
2006 Great Britain All Crops Thiamethoxam 1,213 5.4
2005 Great Britain All Crops Thiamethoxam 1,213 5.4
Given that the French are about to ban this dangerous neonicotinoid, how long before DEFRA and the other regulators here in the UK follow suit?
How long before the British Bee Keepers Association calls for a ban? Or will they do their usual trick of leaping to the defense of the pesticide industry?
The decision was based on a report from French health and safety agency ANSES, which went along with recent scientific findings suggesting that a sub-lethal dose of thiamethoxam, a molecule contained in Cruiser, made bees more likely to lose their way and die….
The French ban on the pesticide will take effect before the start of the next rapeseed sowing campaign in late summer, a farm ministry official said, stressing that it would not affect versions of Cruiser used for other crops such as maize (corn)….
In a separate opinion published on Friday, the European Food Safety Authority said doses of neonicotinoids tested in the bee research were above the highest residue levels actually recorded in plant nectar, adding that more studies were needed to evaluate exposure in different field situations.
Dave Goulson of Stirling University in Scotland, who led another recent study on risks to bees from neonicotinoids, said there was growing evidence that these chemicals may play a role.
“It would be massively oversimplifying to say that these chemicals are the only cause of bee decline, although it is clear they are a part of the problem,” he told Reuters.