Organic producers welcome new information about the effects of pesticides on bees
In the past couple of weeks three new studies have been released which collectively point the finger at a commonly used nerve agent pesticide for the collapse of bee colonies worldwide. Results from a study conducted by scientists in the Harvard School of Public Health and released in the US last week stated that Imidacloprid, one of the neoinicatinoid, family of pesticides introduced over the past 15 years, is likely to be responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the recently observed phenomenon in which bees abandon their hives en masse.
CCD was originally noted in the US where large amounts of imidacloprid are used. However it has since spread across much of Europe. Two other widely published studies from France and Scotland also link neonicotinoids to declines in bees and other pollinating insects. Professor Dave Goulson, from the University of Stirling in Scotland, found in his research, that exposure to even low levels of neonicotinoid pesticides has a serious impact on the health of bees.
“The problem with neonicotinoids are that they attack the central nervous system of insects. As it is a systemic chemical it is taken up by all parts of the plant including the pollen and nectar and it is ingested continually by bees and other pollinating insects” said Grace Maher, Development Officer IOFGA.
According to Michael Gleeson secretary from the Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations, Irish bee colonies are generally quite healthy and to date CCD has not occurred to any great extent the way it has in other countries. “This is a positive thing as there is a growing interest among people in getting involved in keeping bees, as more and more people see the value in having a bee hive both for pollination and honey production” said Michael.
Bees play a vital role in pollination of food crops. Simon Potts Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Reading estimated that the cost of hand pollinating plants in the absence of bees would costs Britain £1.8 billion annually. “Based on this information it is essential that we restrict pesticide use particularly when bees are actively foraging, as they play such a vital role in our agro ecosystem. We do not want to replicate what has happened in other countries here” stated Grace Maher.
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For more information please contact;
Development Officer IOFGA
Tel: 087 6125989
Tel: 087 7819967