Crop Protection Association chief executive officer Nick von Westenholz has responded to two studies published in Nature which make negative claims regarding the impact of neonicotinoids on bees.
Commenting on the studies - Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides by Kessler et al and Seed coating with a neonicotinoid insecticide negatively affects wild bees Rundolf et al, he said:
"The latest studies in Nature must be seen in the context of ongoing campaign to discredit neonicotinoid pesticides, regardless of what the real evidence shows.
"One of the studies, again conducted in the laboratory rather than under realistic field conditions, makes the claim that bees have a slight preference for foraging on crops treated with these pesticides and implies they are more at risk. What’s important is not whether bees show a slight preference for these crops, but that there is no effect on their health when field-realistic amounts of these pesticides are used.
"As for the Swedish study, looking closely at the results, there was no effect on honeybees. As for the impact on other species, the risk posed to them by the very high pollen and nectar residues reported are questionable because these levels have not been seen in any other oil seed rape field studies.
"It is a shame that the debate around the use of these important technologies appears to be increasingly politicised, with anti-pesticide activists consistently promoting their agenda under the auspices of independent research. Meanwhile, the only effect of the restriction on neonicotinoids in Europe so far has been a steady stream of reports from farmers that their crops are suffering serious losses."