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30/04/2013 at 09:53

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22335520

The European Commission will restrict the use of pesticides linked to bee deaths by researchers, despite a split among EU states on the issue.

There is great concern across Europe about the collapse of bee populations.

Neonicotinoid chemicals in pesticides are believed to harm bees and the European Commission says they should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators.

But many farmers and crop experts argue that there is insufficient data.

Fifteen countries voted in favour of a ban - not enough to form a qualified majority. According to EU rules the Commission will now have the option to impose a two-year restriction on neonicotinoids - and the UK cannot opt out.

The Commission says it wants the moratorium to begin no later than 1 December this year.

The UK did not support a ban - it argues that the science behind the proposal is inconclusive. It was among eight countries that voted against, while four abstained.

Wild species such as honey bees are said by researchers to be responsible for pollinating around one-third of the world's crop production.

There was ferocious lobbying both for and against in the run-up to Monday's vote, the BBC's Chris Morris reports from Brussels.

Nearly three million signatures were collected in support of a ban. Protesters against neonicotinoids rallied in Westminster on Friday.

Campaign organiser Andrew Pendleton of the environmental group Friends of the Earth said "leading retailers have already taken action by removing these pesticides from their shelves and supply chains - the UK government must act too".

Chemical companies and pesticide manufacturers have been lobbying just as hard - they argue that the science is inconclusive, and that a ban would harm food production.

The UK government seems to agree with the industry lobby. It objected to the proposed ban in its current form. The chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, has said restrictions on the use of pesticides should not be introduced lightly, and the idea of a ban should be dropped.

The EU moratorium will not apply to crops non-attractive to bees, or to winter cereals.

It will prohibit the sale and use of seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.

And there will be a ban on the sale of neonicotinoids to amateur growers.

There have been a number of studies showing that the chemicals, made by Bayer and Syngenta, do have negative impacts on bees.

And that was Bee News from the Beeb, for further details click at the link and congratulations to everybody who signed up to lobby on behalf of our bees. 

30/04/2013 at 10:40

".....And there will be a ban on the sale of neonicotinoids to amateur growers."

As far as I am aware the ruling applies to only three neonicotinoids. It does not affect Provado Ultimate Bug Killer or Vine Weevil Killer. 

30/04/2013 at 11:14

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/9988139/Supermarkets-and-garden-centres-still-selling-pesticides-blamed-for-killing-bees.html

Recently the influential Environmental Audit Committee said there was no need for the pesticides to be used in private gardens and recommended they be banned for amateur use in the UK.

But the Daily Telegraph can reveal that products containing neonicotinoids are still being stocked by supermarkets and garden centres that claim to be “bee friendly”.

Tesco, Asda, Homebase and B&Q all stock Provado Ultimate Bug Killer, which contains thiacloprid, a less toxic variety of the chemical but one that the EAC and campaigners would still like to see banned for gardeners.

Speaking at the launch of the report Joan Walley, Chairwoman of the EAC, said there was no need for gardeners to use neonicotinoids.

Your right it is just the three that are being banned for now, the question now is there an effective alternative? 

For vine Weevil the rhs lists two products for chemical control but both are neonicotinoids

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=234

Ornamental plants grown in containers can be treated with acetamiprid (Scotts Bug Clear Ultra Vine Weevil Killer) or thiacloprid (Provado Vine Weevil Killer 2) as a liquid drench applied to the compost. These insecticides give protection against the grubs for up to two and four months respectively; treatment in mid- to late summer will control the young larvae and prevent damage occurring later in the autumn to spring period. Neither product can be used to treat edible plants or ornamental plants growing in open soil.

It is not all bad news there are other options.

Non-chemical control

On mild spring or summer evenings inspect plants and walls by torchlight and pick off the adult weevils. Shake shrubs over an upturned umbrella to dislodge and collect more. In greenhouses, look under pots or on the underside of staging benches where the beetles hide during the day.

Trap adults with sticky barriers, such as Agralan Insect Barrier Glue, placed around pots or on greenhouse staging.

Encourage natural enemies. Vine weevils and their grubs are eaten by a variety of predators such as birds, frogs, toads, shrews, hedgehogs and predatory ground beetles.

A biological controls of the larvae is available as a microscopic pathogenic nematode (Steinernema kraussei) available from suppliers of biological controls. Apply in August or early September when the soil temperature is warm enough for the nematode to be effective (5-20ºC/41-68ºF) and before the vine weevil grubs have grown large enough to cause serious damage.

Another nematode, Heterorhabditis megidis, is also available but is more temperature-dependent (12-20ºC/ 54-68ºF). Both nematodes can also be applied to garden soil, but give poor results in dry or heavy soils. They work best in open potting composts, such as peat or coir. Nematodes can be used safely on all edible and ornamental plants.

hope this information is of some use. 

30/04/2013 at 13:07

I don't use any pesticides in my garden and rely instead on birds and predators like ladybirds and hoverflies plus hand picking for lily beetle.  I do, however, have some Provadon on stand by in case I ever get vine weevil but it's probably past its sell by date.

30/04/2013 at 16:50

I too use no pesticides or chemicals in the garden, relying on nature and a tea strainer - essential for the capture of lily beetle!   I did use provado one year when we had to be away when all my dozens of lily pots were going be to at their most vulnerable to the red meneace, it did work, and as it was in pots did not spread among the rest of the garden.  I have kept it by me too not being a great belever in out of date nonsense, I would use it again should we happen to be away at that time again.

I do think we need desperately to do all we can to protect our bees, no insects, no food - quite easy really isn't it?  Since I went organic some 10 -12 years ago, after a pretty difficult fist year or two, things have settled well, and we have few really destructive infestations - but do have lots of blue its ( aphids) and ladybirds, ditto, aphids, blackbirds and starlings - slugs and snails and so on and so on.  The only exception is the darned lily beetle which nothing hrere recognises as prey - but I can often be found jumping upon them with great delight - our neighbours are innured to this peculiarity in behaviour at that time - minor in comparison with some!!

30/04/2013 at 17:54

My migration towards the organic approach has taken me by surprise in a way.

I didn't really make any conscious choice, but when I did a sort out of garden pots and potions recently, I binned all the quick fix chemicals as I realised I hadn't a) used or b) found the need to use them for years.

But I am a bit concerned that I haven't seen a single honeybee yet this year, just a few bumblebees.

08/05/2013 at 03:36

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