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Where we are now

Where does that leave us now?

The CEH (below) study of August 2016 will be a major element in the EFSA judgement January 2017 and the subsequent EU Decision. On the News as 'killing the bees', closer inspection showed that it wasnt quite as clear as that...

Nature Communications. Impacts of neonicotinoid use on long term poppulation changes in bees  "relates 18 years of UK national wild bee distribution data for 62 species to amounts of neonicotinoid use in oilseed rape. Using a multi-species dynamic Bayesian occupancy analysis, we find evidence of increased population extinction rates in response to neonicotinoid seed treatment use on oilseed rape. Species foraging on oilseed rape benefit from the cover of this crop, but were on average three times more negatively affected by exposure to neonicotinoids than non-crop foragers." and "Interestingly, we found that the application of foliar applied insecticides had little or no negative consequences for population persistence of wild bees. " (Neonics - systemic insecticides, are usually applied as a seed treatment) More  Full CEH Study

CC Comment: If we were to base policy on this evidence (and it seems pretty substantial evidence) then we would ban neonic seed treatment. This is quite a good idea, as this sort of treatment is called 'prophylactic', ie 'acting to prevent disease'. The drawback is that this treatment is applied even when there is no disease - 'just in case'. The obvious parallel is the regular use of anti-biotics in cattle in America - whereas we only use when needed. This leads to quicker buildup of  resistance in the bugs and hence earlier obsolescence. 

However the study does leave the way to allowing foliar sprays - when necessary. ie if an outbreak of flea beetle occurs then foliar sprays - within the Code of Practice would be used. This way it means that farmers / agronomists would need to use rotations, build better beds and keep an eye out for the pest - in other words Integrated Pest Management and spraying is a last resort  - using properly qualified applicators of course. This would conform to the EU DIrective and IPM (see above)

SO!! If I were still on the ACP, my position would be:
1. Ban the use of Seed treatments with neonicotinoids

2. Allow the Foliar treatment of neonicotinoids

Set IPM systems to deal with this.