——– BEES: PESTICIDE RESTRICTIONS MUST BE EXTENDED TO WHEAT – NEW
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH REPORT—————————————–
Three neonicotinoid pesticides were banned on flowering crops in December
2013 after scientists concluded they posed a ”high acute risk” to honey
bees when used on crops attractive to them. But these chemicals can still be
used on other crops.
One of the restricted neonicotinoids (clothianidin) is widely used on wheat.
In 2014 it was used on over 700,000 ha of wheat in the UK. This is greater
than the total area of oilseed rape – a crop which is covered by the
The Friends of the Earth report found that the use of clothianidin on wheat
also posed a threat to bees and other wildlife, for example:
• Neonicotinoids are normally applied as a coating to seeds. However
over 80% of the chemical can leach into the soil, where it can be absorbed by
other plants. High levels of neonicotinoids have been found in wildflowers
next to wheat crops, and can enter flowering plants attractive to bees if
they are grown after wheat. Bees can also be exposed to neonics due to dust
drifting away from the crop when treated seeds are sown .
• Studies have warned that birds could be harmed by eating seeds
treated with neonicotinoids .
• Global studies have found widespread presence of neonics in water
and further studies have found evidence of harm to aquatic invertebrates,
such as freshwater shrimp, which could have a knock on impact on fish,
including salmon .
• Earthworms, which are critical to soil health, are exposed to
neonics in the soil. There is evidence that these pesticides have an impact
on worm mortality, reproduction and behaviour .