By Jaz Davies
The UK government is now allowing the emergency use of “bee-killing” pesticide Thiamethoxam, which is banned by most EU countries, due to harm it causes pollinators.
Last week, the UK government approved the use of the pesticide Thiamethoxam, after a mild winter meant the “trigger threshold” for using the pesticide was met.
This is the second year in a row the threshold has been reached due to warmer winter temperatures. Aphids that can infect sugar beet crops with “Beet Yellow” are predicted to pose a large risk of to up to 50% of crop yields. Farmers insist that the bee-killing pesticide Thiamethoxam – also known as Cruiser SB – is necessary to kill these aphids. In colder temperatures over winter the aphids are usually killed off naturally.
In January the government approved the emergency use of Thiamethoxam “in principle”. But farmers had to wait for official forecasters to predict if the virus would be significant enough to reach the “trigger threshold” allowing for the use of the harmful pesticide.
Studies have shown that this type of pesticide damages the nervous systems and navigation of not only bees but many other pollinators. These pesticides also end up in rivers and streams causing harm to aquatic life and can remain present for a very long time.
Craig Bennet, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said the decision to allow the use of the pesticide was “scandalous”.
In 2018, the EU banned their use in most countries, but not without resistance from chemical companies. An investigation by Greenpeace uncovered that companies were purposely hiding evidence and studies showing the harm the pesticide caused to pollinators.
Most of us know by now that if the bees disappear, humans would shortly follow. We rely on pollinators to pollinate our crops, about a third of our food is dependent on pollinators, of which bees are some of the most important. Without them food production would come to an alarming halt. Since 1900, the UK has lost 13 species of bees, with a further 35 at significant risk of extinction. None are protected by law.
RSPBs senior policy officer, Stephanie Morren said “We are in a nature and climate emergency, and with farming accounting for 75% of the land in England we cannot reverse natures decline without the support of our farmers… farmers must be supported to reduce our reliance on these harmful chemicals”.
Click this link to sign the Greenpeace petition to ban the use of bee-killing pesticides in the UK.