A newer class of insecticide commonly used to control insect pests in crops is unlikely to present any greater threat to honey bees and crop pollination than other pesticides that have been in use for many years.April 29, 2014 3:00am
A newer class of insecticide commonly used to control insect pests in crops is unlikely to present any greater threat to honey bees and crop pollination than other pesticides that have been in use for many years.
That was one of the findings earlier this month at a symposium held in Canberra organised by Plant Health Australia, the not-for-profit co-ordinator of the plant biosecurity partnership in Australia.
The meeting of 90 representatives from government agencies, the honey bee industry, crop industries that rely on honey bees for pollination, and researchers, examined information gathered globally on the effects of neonicotinoids on insect pollinators.
It was agreed that neonicotinoids could adversely impact bee populations if used incorrectly, the same as other pesticides (including insecticides and fungicides), but that with sensible safeguards in place the chemicals could still be used to control pests on crops.
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority chief regulatory scientist Les Davies described the findings from a recently-published APVMA summary report looking at the possible risks to bees arising from the various uses of the neonicotinoid insecticides in Australia.
‘‘Having reviewed information collected from around the world over the past few decades, it’s clear that it’s not possible to attribute bee population declines in some parts of the world to the introduction of the neonicotinoid insecticides,’’ Dr Davies said.
‘‘Current scientific opinion is that these pollinator declines are likely to be caused by multiple interacting pressures that may include habitat loss and disappearance of floral resources, honey bee nutrition, climate change, bee pests and pathogens, miticides and other chemicals intentionally used in hives and bee husbandry practices, as well as agricultural pesticides.
‘‘To reduce the risks from pesticide use we need to ensure that a range of regulatory, industry stewardship and educational measures are in place.’’
The APVMA report acknowledged that incidents of beekeepers losing bee colonies as a result of insecticide do occur, but these can be minimised with proper use and effective communication between the farmer and the beekeeper.
The report concluded the introduction of neonicotinoids had probably reduced risks to the environment from the application of insecticides.
Plant Health Australia’s Rod Turner said the meeting was a positive step towards better understanding how honey bee activities and chemical control of insect pests can occur side-by-side, with correct use and application.
‘‘Australia has one of the healthiest bee populations in the world and the research indicates that with sensible measures, we will be able to keep them healthy and benefit from their honey making and pollination services,’’ Mr Turner said.
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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