Insects and Insecticides

Written evidence submitted by Brighton and Lewes Beekeepers

The Committee of the Brighton and Lewes Beekeepers commend and support the decision to look into the issue of insecticides and honeybees.

1. The Committee of the Brighton and Lewes Division of the Sussex Beekeepers Association commend the decision to look into the issue of insecticides, in particular the group neonicotinoids, and their potential effects on honeybees and other pollinators.

2. As beekeepers we, and the members we represent, are concerned with increasing mortality rates of our bee colonies.

3. There are many scientific papers in the public domain which implicate systemic insecticides, specifically the neonicotinoids: Imidacloprid, Clothianidin and the carcinogenic phenylpyrazole: Fipronil, in the deaths of bees.

4. There is increasing evidence that these insecticides impair the bees’ immune system rendering them more susceptible to other parasites and diseases, specifically Nosema. Synergistic action between insecticides and other pesticides and chemicals can also be lethal and need investigation.

5. We are also concerned that the initial short term toxicity testing required for licence is inadequate and has not detected chronic and sub lethal effects on pollinators, and worry that the testing may be inadequate for the safety of human beings as well.

6. We are concerned that the multinational chemical companies may be having undue influence in the granting of licences and the continued availability of their products in spite of widespread public concern.

7. The refusal to accept peer-reviewed scientific evidence by Syngenta and Bayer reinforces this view.

8. The failure of Defra to put a precautionary ban on these products, in spite of such bans being applied to certain uses of these chemicals in a number of European countries; France, Germany Italy, Slovenia, causes us to lose confidence in the British Government, and question who is the beneficiary of this inaction as it certainly is not the public, the environment, bees or beekeepers.

25 October 2012

Prepared 5th November 2012