Insects and Insecticides

Written evidence submitted by William Summers

Honeybee pollination services raise farmers profits. Any deleterious effects on honeybees caused by systemic seed dressings is an unintended consequence.

Farmers should support a strategy to not kill bees if universally applied. They see no point or purpose in using undressed seed if other farmers do use it, killing or damaging bees. Only the law can ensure this by "re s traint for mutual ben e fit".

The way forward is to investigate with the farming industry a strategy of not using systemic neonicotinoid seed dressings and sprays on rape seed, field beans and other (bee pollinated) flowering crops. Farmers once relied on contact non-systemic insecticides and can do so again, but not between sunrise and sunset. To preserve pollinating insects is collective, enlightened self interest, but goverment must first lead with a law banning neonicotinoid use in any form on flowering crops. There would be no losers, not even the chemical manufacturing companies who would sell more, less dangerous insecticides and be better targeted .

Using contact sprays only between sunset and dawn for crops in flower is not an unreasonable request given that nights are already worked fetching in the harvest. Why not to save the bees without which there would barely be a harvest as in 2012 when bees were unable to forage and pollinate?

There is a time in the affairs of men which taken at the flood lead on to fortune - so let this be done now - or we shall lose the tide.

29 October 2012

Prepared 5th November 2012