If any of you heard Kate on Gardener's Question Time last week, she gave a very brave defence of wildlife in the face of a concerted 'push' from the BBC to sell us the idea that Neonicotinoid Pesticides are 'alright if used according to manufacturers instructions'. Kate pointed out that the latest research from Stirling University has revealed that bumblebees that come into contact with systemic neonicotinoids produce 85% fewer queens each year - which effectively means extinction. Speaking as a beekeeper, more than 10,000,000 colonies of bees have been destroyed globally by neonicotinoids since they were introduced in France in 1992. America is currently losing over a million colonies per year (and they only have 3 million!).
This is what Kate said on GQT:
Well I have to agree with John Hall, the beekeeper from Shropshire, recent research has shown that honeybees are less able to navigate back to their hives; bumblebee queens produced 85% fewer new queens in the wild, and this is potentially catastrophic for bees.
There is really no need for gardeners to be using these pesticides, I don't think any plants are worth losing our bees over, there lots of natural controls; in the case of aphids just wait for the ladybirds and hoverflies to come along and eat the aphids; birds also feed aphids to their young; vine weevils can be dealt with by nematodes; scale insects can be picked off by birds. So I agree with John Hall (beekeeper) completely."
ERIC ROBSON replied:
"And it should be said that the manufacturers of those pesticides refute everything that Kate Bradbury said. We did talk to DEFRA as well and they said that they are looking at the new data – but so far they see “no cause for concern” and they pointed out that “all pesticides are of course extensively tested before they are given authorisation for amateur use”
Eric Robson's cringe-making comment in which he rubbished and disowned everything that Kate Bradbury had just said (on behalf of the BBC) – suggests that he was under BBC orders to promote the safety and innocence of systemic insecticides at all costs. His remark that 'the manufacturers “refute everything that Kate has just said” was simply gutless journalism.
The truth is that if you use ANY systemic neonicotinoid in our garden, those plants will remain hyper-toxic to bees, butterflies and all pollinators which come into contact the poisoned pollen and nectar. Please donwload and read this article here:
Furthermore the recourse to simply parroting the DEFRA line that ' everything is tested, everything is safe” was pathetic. He didn't ask a single question about WHO does the testing.