This statement provides an update on the BBKAs position on the neonicotinoid debate following the release of two scientific studies into the effects of neonicotinoids on honey and wild bees . In particular it refers to the study by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CCEH) that was referred to in our background paper issued March 2017. 

The CEH study states: ‘ … that exposure to neonicotinoid seed treatments can have negative effects on the inter - annual reproductive potential of both wild and managed bees, but that these effects are not consistent across countries. The country-specific responses of honeybees and bumblebees strongly suggests that the effects of neonicotinoids are a product of interacting factors … ’

BBKA remains concerned

The BBKA supports this view that the subject is complex and the health and welfare of honey and wild bees need to be considered in total, rather than looking at one specific cause. Specifically as noted in our earlier paper we remain concerned about what alternative treatments the farming community will resort to if the ban continues in place. We need convincing evidence that the position of pollinators will not be worsened if alternative older classes of insecticides are used.

Euro review in Autumn

The European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) will review this report, together with other evidence and research and issue its report & recommendation in the autumn of 2017. This information will be used to inform the EU who will ultimately make the decision as to whether to continue with the ban.

In the meantime, the results of the study do nothing to change the BBKA policy which remains ‘ That, until there is convincing independent scientific evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are not harmful to honey bees, the BBKA will support the continuation of the EU moratorium on their use ’

Martin Smith

Ivor Davies

BBKA Public Affairs Directors

30th June 2017