stop the neonics

With the latest disappointing Defra report feeling like a betrayal of confidence, I decided to write to my MP. asking for an independent report on the neonics we all hate so much. At first , I received a bog standard reply reiterating clap-trap from the bog-standard data base.  Infuriated, I then wrote another letter, this time with few holes barred as to what I thought about : a: bog-standard replies from data bases & b: what I thought about governments that allowed these poisons to be casually used without proper research.  This last letter got past the bog-standard & I am now waiting for a response from the actual minister, who, his secretary assures me, will be looking into the several salient points raised about the use of neonics & bees. 

So pull out your fingers, folks, & get typing from the heart to your MP with some salient facts thrown in & lets stop the neonics at least until proper research has been concluded!

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9 Responses to stop the neonics

  1. simplebees says:

    In his recently submitted written submission to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee enquiry into Insects and Insecticides, Professor Dave Goulson, of the University of Stirling, one of the authors of the much quoted recent research paper on the impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on bumblebees says:

    I am concerned that Defra’s response to this work, and other studies, seems to be focused on trying to pick small holes and then using them as a justification for inaction. No study is perfect, and in practice it is impossible to carry out the ideal study. I would be happy to explain this in detail, but in essence a proper experiment requires natural, free flying bees in multiple areas with and without neonicotinoids. There are not areas without neonicotinoids in Europe. Hence if Defra are waiting for the perfect experiment to be performed, they will be waiting a very long time.

    The full text of the submissions is here. They make grim reading.

    Gareth, Cotswolds

    • salp111 says:

      I think Tom Theobold had it about right when he talked about how if enough uncertainty is created around an issue, nothing gets done as people don’t want to stick their heads above the parapet to get shot! He said how that happened in the tobacco industry around 2nd hand smoke from cigarettes & it’s only taken…50…60odd years? to finally understand the connection between inhaling a poison & ill health!!!!
      This is what DEFRA & EFSA are doing between them, backed up big time by BAYER.

  2. salp111 says:

    It seems that the government is determined to bury its head & consequently us in the sand. It certainly does make grim reading….the bits I could understand, that is…..& makes me all the more determined to play my part in doing what I can to bring this to the attention of us ordinary plebs. I bet most of the UK has never heard of neonicotinoids…..even now after they have been in covert use for several years. I didn’t, until Phil Chandler introduced them to me during a course he held last year. Since then, I have made it my business to understand more & to spread the knowledge as far as is possible, without too much evangelism, I hope….a real turn off factor! I think we have all become so blase(don’t know where the accent thing is on the computer!) about pesticides in the “pretty” user-friendly containers in which they’re housed that there is a danger of turning a blind eye to the devastation that is slowly occuring under our noses.
    We could all do a small something such as go to our local garden centre & talk to the manager or customers even about the dangers of this stuff to….well….everything really; write a letter; talk to our friends & family about it; use facebook & twitter etc;; boycott the products….& there are alot of them (there’s a partial list on ); hand out leaflets; anything that raises some awareness of the problems we are all going to face in the not-so-distant -future. It’s not just about the bees. They may be our canary in the coalmine, but other creatures are suffering as a result of reduced numbers of insects & then the ball starts to roll…………..
    I wondered if the BBC would refer to pesticides when they mentioned the sunhives on Countryfile. No such luck. I guess they’re too hung up on not crossing any more lines at the moment. Was it the BBC? Not sure. Is anyone out there connected in any way to the television industry & think it might be an idea to do some sort of expose on the effects of pesticides?
    It would be good to hear some of your thoughts on this all you natural bee keepers out there.

  3. maryw7 says:

    The European Food Safety Authority has announced that the use of neonicontinoids present an ‘unacceptable danger’ to bees. Damian Carrington has been keeping the neonic issue alive for some time, and now he describes latest developments at

  4. salp111 says:

    Great news it’s being kept alive at such high profile, however, imidacloprid stays active in the soil for at least 3 years, affecting all plants & surrounding soil for that time. In other words, if a different crop that was more attractive to pollinators was planted the year after the rapeseed (which is generally pre coated with the stuff!), the subsequent plant would be just as toxic as the rape thus poisoning the pollinators as efficiently as if they had been sprayed. So that comment made by efsa is a half measure, lip service kind of thing I have grown to expect from the government.
    Also, what about the soil which has become increasingly toxic & barren? There is the run off to consider as it pollutes our waterways. I dread to think what concentrate is in the water as it doesn’t disappear in water but sits around affecting our small aquatic creatures.
    It doesn’t take a genius to realise there will be serious consequences for us in the end.
    I vote to completely ban these awful toxins & to completely re think our farming methods.

  5. simplebees says:

    Just to keep up the information flow, here is a blog piece by Matt Shardlow of Buglife.

    Gareth, Cotswolds

  6. salp111 says:

    I have decided to take direct action myself in my community by producing a leaflet to promote a more organic approach to gardening. I know it’s not going to reach the farmers who grow the rape & beet etc but with any luck someone will know someone who knows someone who knows the farmers concerned. It also explains how the neonics are lethal & who produces them.
    I have written so many bloody letters to the government to little effect so decided to put my money where my mouth is & print some of the aforesaid leaflets. Currently in cahoots with a sympathetic post office master ex beekeeper who has offered to print on his swish laser printer at cost. Still alot of dosh so if anyone knows of anywhere/one I can approach to help out with finance, I would appreciate it.
    Also approached the local Somerset Life mag to suggest they do a bit on the plight of the bees and neonics which apparently is going to be part of one of their spring bulletins.
    So some progress has been made.
    I asked Buglife about the effect of neonics on earthworms as I was wondering about hedgehogs whose diet consists mainly of worms. I know the badgers eat them (hedgehogs) when they encroach onto their territory, & that badgers have increased in numbers but I wondered if any research had been done into the crash of numbers . Apparently not. However, some research has been done on the earthworm which is affected by neonics. Their burrowing becomes more shallow thus affecting their ability to convert leaf litter etc, therefore affecting the soil structure & fertility.
    I have been looking at all the angles of effects potential & actual & the picture is the stuff of nightmares. The more we use this stuff, the more we have to use it to keep producing the crops.
    America, here we come!! You really would have thought our government would have looked at the USA & decided to learn from example…..

  7. maryw7 says:

    It’s working. Good to see that some major garden centres are removing insecticides that endanger bees from their shelves, following widespread campaign against neonicontinoids.

    Now we just need to work on independent local garden centres who have not yet got the message.

    Mary, Brixton

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