Neonicotinoids kill bees
There is a major class of pesticides - Neonicotinoids - that is known to kill bees. This is a HUGE problem in the United States, where last year beekeepers lost 42% of honey bee colonies, and neonicotinoids are thought to play an important part in that loss.
One pest control company in the states Ortho, has just announced that they are going to "immediately transition away from the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides".
Read the whole Huffington post article here
including some great links to further resources.
And Wikipedia states that "The neonicotinoid family includes acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world."
And it also provides this handy list of which products contain them (this is 2011 data)
|Name||Company||Products||Turnover in million US$ (2009)|
|Imidacloprid||Bayer CropScience||Confidor, Admire, Gaucho, Advocate||1,091|
|Thiamethoxam||Syngenta||Actara, Platinum, Cruiser||627|
|Clothianidin||Sumitomo Chemical/Bayer CropScience||Poncho, Dantosu, Dantop||439|
|Acetamiprid||Nippon Soda||Mospilan, Assail, ChipcoTristar||276|
|Dinotefuran||Mitsui Chemicals||Starkle, Safari, Venom||79|
|Nitenpyram||Sumitomo Chemical||Capstar, Guardian||8|
We do have our own rules governing the use of neonicotinoids, from the EPA, read about them here
. But they basically say you're not to spray near beehives or on flowering plants. So they haven't been banned at all.
Neonicotinoids are used to coat some seeds, and these are still sold in NZ.
Two products available in NZ that contain neonicotinoids are "Yates Confidor" and "Yates Rose Gun Advanced".
Also "They are sold here under the common trade names of Cruiser, Gaucho and Poncho, the active neonicotinoid ingredients of which are thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and clothianidin respectively. Gaucho is also used on potatoes, winter squash and pumpkins."
And from Apicare NZ
Why neonicotinoids are bad for bees
There has been much talk about this group of insecticides globally. There are now bans and trial bans in place in many areas around the world. This is not so in New Zealand, so we need to keep a particular eye out for the ingredients we spray in our gardens and on our farms. Neonicotinoids work as an insecticide by blocking specific neural pathways in insects’ central nervous systems. At ‘sub-lethal doses’ the chemicals impair bees’ communication, homing and foraging ability, flight activity, ability to discriminate by smell, learning, and immune systems – all of which have an impact on bees' ability to survive. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been linked to the dramatic collapse in bee numbers over the last decade.
Domestic Sprays that contain neonicotinoids - Many domestic gardening products on sale in hardware stores and garden centers contain these chemicals. If you're buying any kind of pest control check the ingredients – anything that contains acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiacloprid or thiamethoxam should be avoided to maximise bee health.
While the topic of bee safe sprays is relevant topic it is also one that can also be rather confusing. There are so many different garden sprays available in the market place and so many different chemical names, brand names and generic names that making a considered choice can seem impossible. We have tried to simply the issue below by providing some brand names commonly available in the New Zealand market place.
- There is evidence overseas that the use of a group of pesticides known as neonicotinoids cause bees to become disorientated when out foraging and may be a major contributor to the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder which is decimating bee populations in Europe and North America. Neonicotinoids have also been shown to cause chronic bee mortality through reduced immunity.
- Bees do not have to come in direct contact with the spray residue, they can absorb the neuro-toxins via the plants pollen and nectar.
- The common names for neonicotinoid insecticides are Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam.
- Neonicotinoids are often used for agricultural applications but can also be available to the home gardener. The two products that New Zealand gardeners are likely to come across (containing Imidacloprid) are Yates Confidor and Yates Rose Gun.
- It is not just neonicotinords that can be harmful to bees. Other common pesticides that are toxic to them include insecticides containing Acephate, Carbaryl, Spectracide, Permethrin and the rapid flying insect killer Resmethrin, to name a few. Ther is an extensive list on Wikipedia under pesticide toxicity to bees.
- Sprays that are safe to bees if sprayed at dusk when the bees won’t be foraging for a number of hours (i.e. they are safe to bees as long as they are dry and no longer wet): Spinosad (Yates Success Naturalyte Insect Control), Yates Guardall, Yates Mavrik Insect & Mite Spray, Pyrethrum (Yates Nature's Way Fruit & Vegie Gun, Yates Insect Gun Ready to Use, Yates Natures Way Pyrethrum, and Neem Oil.
- Sprays that are safe to bees (though it would still be best to spray them at dawn or dusk when bees aren’t flying): Sulfur, Serenade, Insecticidal Soap Based Sprays (Yates Nature's Way Insect & Mite Spray and Yates Mite Killer), Petroleum based oils (Yares Conqueror Spraying Oil), B.T. (bacillus thuringiensis), Herbicides (like round-up).
So if you are at all interested in the survival of honey bees, please DO NOT USE any of these toxic chemicals.
Others are bad too, although not as dire, and in the next post I'll outline how I research these things properly and how you can find out what ingredients are suspect, rather than just relying on the supplier saying it is "not toxic to bees".