Growers are looking ahead to alternative pest control after the EC decided on a two-year neonicotinoid moratorium to begin no later than 1 December this year.
Last week, EU member states failed to reach a qualified majority on the issue - 15 countries not including the UK voting in favour. But the vote was enough to allow the EC to press ahead with a two-year ban on neonicotinoid insecticides - clothianidin, thiametoxam and imidacloprid.
HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe said: "It is worrying to see the commission capitulating to an irrational debate that does not take account of the evidence."
British Growers Association (BGA) chief executive James Hallett added: "The BGA is very concerned that it appears that this decision has been made without considering proper evidence."
NFU horticultural adviser Chris Hartfield said the ban would set crop protection back 10-15 years and growers will have to return to older, costlier and less efficient pesticides such as pyrethroids.
A new class of insecticides called diamides could offer another alternative, but these have not yet been used much in Europe.
Not all crops are affected, however. Carrot grower Guy Poskitt, the acting chairman for the NFU board for horticulture and potatoes, said he uses Cruiser on his carrot crops but he expects that his use of this product will not be affected because the carrot plants do not flower.
Softand top-fruit grower Robert Pascall confirmed that Calypso, which has not been banned, is the only product that contains neonicotinoids that is currently used on soft fruit.
Salad grower Roger Sayer of Humber Growers said: "I don't think we use any products with neonicotinoids."
Alternatives Options available for ornamental growers after ban
Alternatives to neonicotinoids regularly used by growers for key pests of ornamentals include:
- For aphids: Aphox, Calypso, Chess WG, Danadim Progress, Decis, Dursban WG, Gazelle SG, Hallmark WZT, Majestik, Mainman, Major, Movento, Naturalis-L, Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona, SB Plant Invigorator, Spruzit, Sumi-Alpha, Teppeki, Toppel 100.
- For thrips: Calypso, Conserve, Decis, Dynamec, Hallmark WZT, Majestik, Major, Met52, Naturalis-L, Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona, Spruzit, Tracer.
- For caterpillars: Conserve, Decis, Dimilin Flo, DiPel DF, Dursban WG, Hallmark WZT, Insegar WG, Majestik, Major, Pyrethrum 5EC, Runner, Spruzit, Steward, Sumi-Alpha, Toppel 100, Tracer.
- For spider mites: Apollo 50SC, Borneo, Danadim Progress, Dynamec, Envidor, Hallmark WZT, Majestik, Major, Masai, Naturalis-L, Oberon, Pyrethrum 5EC, Savona, SB Plant Invigorator, Sequel, Spraying Oil, Spruzit.
- For whitefly: Calypso, Chess WG, Decis, Dursban WG, Gazelle SG, Hallmark WZT, Mainman, Majestik, Major, Movento, Mycotal, Naturalis-L, Oberon, Savona, SB Plant Invigorator, Spruzit, Toppel 100.
- For vine weevil: Dursban WG, Met52.