You are probably aware that a derogation has been approved by the Minister for Agriculture allowing the use of a banned pesticide (Cruiser SB: Thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid) to be used on sugar beet in 2022. This pesticide will be applied to seed as a dressing before planting if a high aphid count is seen. Aphids carry a virus known as Yellows which adversely affects some crops.

Link to the derogation:

The BBKA is totally opposed to the use of this and similar pesticides due to their effect on not only honey bees but other pollinators, and the wider environment. As this matter is urgent, will you please register your opposition to the use of this type of chemical by signing any petition which opposes the use of any of such damaging pesticides.

A petition has been started  on the government website. Enough signatures on this link forces the government to discuss it in the House of Commons.

Two other such petitions are

The ‘precautions’ for the use of this chemical to ‘protect’ pollinators is to ban any flowering crops (or ground cover) in the soil where this treated seed is used for a period of 32 months following the crop planting and the use of herbicides to prevent flowering of any weeds (wildflowers?).

Therefore, there cannot be any forage for Bees or other Pollinators for 3 years in any land used to grow crops treated with this chemical. This will be effectively at best a green monoculture with no forage for any pollinator. If any pollinators survive they will STARVE.

Please express your opposition to the use of this chemical by supporting any suitable petition and writing to your MP. You can find the contact details for your MP by using the link and entering your postcode.

When writing to your MP it is better if you do not use a form letter. Form letters tend to be less well received. The BBKA believes that the following points need raising with MP’s

  1. There is no publicly available data on the application for the derogation.
  2. What information there is, does not seem to consider weather effects on the yield of the crop, which is the main reason for the derogation request.
  3. The ‘precautions’ to prevent bees from being effected by the Neonicotinoids, is to treat the fields and surrounds with herbicide to prevent flowering of wildflowers which would take up residual Neonicotinoid from the ground. This would appear to be directly in opposition to the stated aims of the new agricultural policy in development. This precaution is reducing the biodiversity of the environment and denies forage not only for bee species but other insects which is bound to effect other species such as birds which feed on insects. The precaution for using the chemical is to use more chemicals?
  4. There appears to be no sampling of the soil prior to the sowing of the treated seed nor any in the ‘Precautionary’ period following the harvest of the sugar beet. Therefore, residual Neonicotinoids may still be in the soil after the precautionary period after crop harvest.
  5. The use of Neonicotinoids will not be used in future and investment will be made in resistant crops rather than the use of destructive chemicals.

Please help the BBKA to support you in protecting bees from the reintroduction of these provably harmful chemicals.

Thank you.

Stephen Barnes
BBKA Chair