Neonicotinoid Discussion on ‘Which’ Forum

There is an interesting discussion on Neonics on the Which forum, not only for the excellent post given by Friend of the Bees (quoted below) but also for the persistence of someone who gives the appearance of being a paid industry blogger (Wavechange).  He/she creates an authoritative and personable persona (retired university lecturer in biology) and appears to agree with the thrust of the ‘ban’ argument while actually sowing seeds of doubt intended to snare the undecided into remaining as such.  (For those interested, there is more on the techniques used here.)  I see he is collecting quite a few thumbs down.  Maybe a few more?

Gareth, Cotswolds

Here is the text of the post that Friend of the Bees put on the Which? forum:


Here are some background facts: the pesticide ‘revolution’

1. Neonics were used on over 2,300,000 acres of UK crops in 2011, of which approx 462,000 acres of wheat, OSR, barley, peas, beans, apples, tomatoes etc were seed-treated with Imidacloprid and a further 1.9 million acres were treated with Clothianidin. That means every seed was coated with a systemic neurotoxin – that perfuses the entire plant for the entire growing season – from seed to fruit.
Check it out:

2. These poisons are HYPER toxic. Just 3 parts per billion in sugar solution will kill any insect.
That equates to 1 teaspoon in 1000 metric tonnes of water – an average swimming pool. More dramatically, just 4 picogrammes – 4 trillionths of a gramme, if administered over 10 days, achieved a 100% bee kill (Dr Luz Belzunces research in 1994 – INRA, France)
Imidacloprid is 7,200 times more toxic to bees than DDT – weight for weight.
Clothianidin in about 6,000 times more toxic.

3. They PERSIST in the crop for many months – and are bio-available to all bees and pollinators as long as the crop flowers – via poisoned pollen and nectar/

4. They PERSIST in the soil for up to 1200 days and kill all the earthworms, soil invertebrates etc for that entire period. No life above soil; no life below soil. Could this be the reason why 19 farmland bird species have declined in the UK by up to 80% in just 20 years? No insects = no baby skylarks, peewits, thrushes, yellowhammers, sparrows, starlings, partridges . . .

5. The LAW in the EU is that no pesticide can be licensed if it persists in soil for 120 days – but Imidacloprid persists for up to 900 days and Clothianidin persists for up to 1200 days; one study in America said Clothianidin persists for up to 13,000 days (19 years) on clay soils. That is – if only ONE crop is seed treated with these poisons; if they treat a crop every year, and 98% of the pesticide remains in the soil – then we are talking about the permanent toxic pollution of millions of acres of UK soil for many decades to come. And the residual poison is absorbed into ANY flower or crop which follows in that field. You plant poppies and you get poison poppies for 20 years./

In the past, the ‘old’ pesticides were applied ‘in reaction’ to a ‘real’ invasion of insects. Today the neonics are applied ‘prophylactically’ to every seed, in every acre of every field, every planting, every year, after year. after year. Currently 2,300,000 acres of UK crops and 242 million acres of American cropland and soil are PERMANENTLY poisonous to ALL insect and invertebrate life.

Finally, France banned neonics on oilseed rape, sunflowers and maize in 2000AD and guess what? The crops did not die. They used crop rotation and IPM to minimise insect pests – and they allowed natural predators like: lacewings, swallows, ladybirds, beetles and a hundred other species – to eat the aphids.

As things stand, 2,300,000 acres of UK farmland are highly toxic to ALL forms of wildlife, above ground, below ground, and around the fields, in water ditches, ponds and wetlands adjacent to treated fields. Neonics are highly soluble in water and can travel for miles in water – to be absorbed by flowers logn distances away.

These are the most poisonous substances ever synthesised by perverted science.

End Quote

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9 Responses to Neonicotinoid Discussion on ‘Which’ Forum

  1. salp111 says:

    Thanks Gareth for keeping us up to date. It’s a fascinating conversation. That wavechange is very clever but sneaky!

  2. Paul says:

    I see what you mean. S/he is too even tempered to believe. A genuine poster would lose his rag at some point (indeed Che Guebuddha, I recognise that name from Biobees, refers to the “Dr Mengeles poisons” which automatically loses the argument as per Godwin’s Law).

    Respect to you & Phil for spotting the pattern & calling him out. Persistent critter, isn’t s/he?

  3. simplebees says:

    Sadly, with an upcoming EU vote over a possible ban of some of the neonics, the paid shills are working overtime. The immorality of paying people to deliberately confuse the unwitting frankly appals me.

    Gareth, Cotswolds

  4. salp111 says:

    He isn’t going to confuse me!!!!!

  5. simplebees says:

    I understand that the following report of a statement by a Scottish MEP has been removed from a well-known UK beekeeping forum in what appears to be an attempt to stifle debate:-

    Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has today (Wednesday) called for greater research into the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees, and lambasted some colleagues for swallowing lobbying propaganda and using scientific doubt as an excuse for inaction.

    The call came in a packed committee meeting in Brussels, attended by European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Safety, Tonio Borg.

    The meeting heard a presentation from the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) on their study into the the risks to bees from neonicotinoids, acknowledging that there are threats to pollinators from these chemicals, though highlighting gaps in the evidence and that there remains some scientific dispute over the technical issues.

    Alyn said:

    “There are two bad lines of argument used on this issue. On the one hand, ‘we need more data before we act’ could keep us in stasis for a million years, but on the other, the ‘Precautionary Principle’ could be used as justification for not getting out of bed in the morning!

    “It is up to us as legislators to make a call on the balance of the evidence available proportionate to the scale of the risks involved, and I’ve been concerned to see some MEPs parroting, what is in effect lobbying propaganda, as if it were gospel handed down on tablets of stone.

    “I have been saying this for some time: the worrying decline in bee numbers is, at least in part, caused by toxic chemicals sprayed on our fields. I simply do not see how any other conclusion is possible based on the evidence available, not least after the EFSA study found clear links between the use of the chemicals and damage to bees.

    “I back the European Commission’s proposals for a partial ban on the most risky uses of these chemicals, but I also want to see a lot more research and if we’re proven to be over-cautious then we can relax the ban.

    “The potential consequences for agriculture, food and humankind of a continuing collapse in pollinators are stark. In any objective discussion there is always room for doubt but the more credible data is clear, there is a case to answer and there is a need to act.”

    Gareth, Cotswolds

  6. Will says:

    There is no way to move foreward with the research in to declining bee populations unless these pesticides are removed. It is alot easier to bring these toxins back then it is to revive billions of dead honeybees.

  7. grahambrookbanks says:

    Recent research has discovered links between the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, and another type of pesticide – coumaphos (used in beehives to combat varroa) which seems to affect the ability of honeybees to learn. See

    A good reason to adopt natural beekeeping methods and avoid the chemical treatment of varroa?

    Also, Farrington Oils Ltd produce a LEAF Marque cold-pressed rapeseed oil. LEAF stands for
    “Linking Environment And Farming” and promotes systems which are both sustainable and sensitive to the environment.

    I asked Farrington Oils if they use neonicotinoid seed dressings and they confirmed that they do. They referred me to the the paper by the Crop Protection Association, which dismisses concerns raised over the use of neonicotinoids. Does the CPA have associations with the pesticide industry?

    • simplebees says:

      A good reason to adopt natural beekeeping methods and avoid the chemical treatment of varroa?

      Many treatments used for varroa, including some essential oils such as thymol, have been shown to trigger the same genes in honeybees that respond to environmental stresses, toxins and infections. This is one reason that I stopped using any form of varroa treatment. Another was the feeling shared by a number of respected beekeepers that varroa treatments are at least in part responsible for some of the queen fertility issues that have arisen in recent years.

      These days the only things that get into my hives are taken there by the bees with the exception of emergency sugar feed, of which we have had to do rather too much in recent months due to issues related to the weather.

      Gareth, Cotswolds

  8. simplebees says:

    Does the CPA have associations with the pesticide industry?

    The CPA is the mouthpiece of the insecticide industry. Words such as ‘crop protection’ and ‘pesticides’ are used to hide the fact that we are talking about the saturation of every inch of our land in toxic chemicals that kill insects indiscriminately and cause untold damage to the myriad life forms that live in, and are essential to the health of, our soil. Don’t be fobbed off with stock responses such as ‘sensitive to the environment’ that are prepared by PR people paid to produce purple prose in praise of poisons.

    Gareth, Cotswolds

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