The below article is an excerpt from the Soil Association
website, we fully support the SA in their quest to ban neonicontinoids. On our organic farm pesticides are never used as it is essential that the land works in harmony with nature to produce food free of chemicalsHow do neonicotinoids harm bees & other wildlife?Impact on honeybees
Research has focussed on the impact of these insecticides on honey bees, which are a commercial species. The chemicals have been found to impair bees communication, homing and foraging ability, flight activity, ability to discriminate by smell, learning, and immune systems. These all have an impact on bees' ability to survive.Impact on other wildlife
According to the findings of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment on Systemic Pesticides 'Neonicotinoids impact all species that chew a plant, sip its sap, drink its nectar, eat its pollen or fruit'. This is because neonicotinoids act systemically. Plants, including wildflowers and hedgerows growing near treated crops, take these insecticides up into their leaves, stems, roots, flowers, pollen and nectar.
Whilst the impact of neonicotinoids on other wildlife has been poorly studied as research on other species is carried out, it is raising worrying questions about the wider impacts of neonicotinoids on our farmland wildlife.Wild bees
: Field trials suggest that wild bees may be more vulnerable to neonicotinoids than honey bees. There are nearly 2000 species of wild bees in Europe and nearly 1 in 10 are declining so severely they face extinction.Butterflies & other pollinators:
Once common and widespread UK farmland butterflies have declined by more than half since 2000, despite conservation spending doubling. Neonicotinoid usage has been found to strongly correlate with these declines. In total wild pollinators provide us with up to 60-90% of our insect pollination.Leaf eaters:
Research in the USA found that Monarch butterfly caterpillars are harmed when eating the leaves of wildflowers growing near to neonicotinoid treated crops. But the impact of contaminated wild plant leaves on caterpillars, beetles and other leaf eaters has been poorly studied.Birds:
According to leading bee researcher Professor Dave Goulson in a session at the Soil Association Conference 2014; 'Five neonicotinoid dressed maize seeds, or 32 dressed oilseed rape seeds, are enough to kill a partridge', though more research is needed.Aquatic wildlife:
Widespread contamination of waterways has been already discovered in some countries. Similar levels may be seen here in the UK, but no research has yet been done. Aquatic invertebrates, such as mayflies and water fleas, can suffer harm from low doses of neonicotinoids.Soil life
: Recent research found neonicotinoids in 100% of soil samples from treated crops, and nearby hedgerows. Whilst there has been little research into the impact of this, some research on common species of earthworms suggests that the levels found could cause both harm. Indirect effects due to a decline in insect food: Much of our farmland wildlife needs a diet rich in insects and other bugs to survive. Intensive farming has already caused a decline in this food source, and neonicotinoids may be making this scarcity even worse. In the Netherlands, strong correlations were found between neonicotinoid contamination of waterways and bird declines this link could be caused by the decline in insects and the impact of this on birds diets and ability to feed their chicks.