Neonicotinoids mean more crop-eating slugs, new study

This video says about itself:

Pollinators go silent!

22 November 2012

A decline in pollinators including unmanaged pollinators, such as wild bees, hoverflies, butterflies, as well as managed honeybees, has been reported throughout Europe. This awareness-raising video clip aims at informing the general public about the problem of pollinator loss.

From Wildlife Extra:

Use of pesticides causes harmful rise in destructive slugs

The calls for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in the UK, by many organisations and individuals, have been strengthened following a new field study by Penn State and the University of South Florida.

The study has revealed that a neonicotinoid pesticide used to protect crops from insect damage can actually reduce crop yield by providing an environment in which slugs thrive.

The researchers found that slugs were not affected by eating thiamethoxam that was used to treat soya crops.

However, when the poisoned live slugs were eaten by their natural predators, ground beetles, over 60 per cent of the beetles died or were incapacitated.

With these important predators gone, the number of slugs exploded and with many more of them eating more of the soya, yields were reduced by 5 per cent.

Slugs are a particular risk in no-till agriculture that leaves stubble on the fields when the next year’s crop is planted. No-till farming has increased rapidly in the UK in the last decade.

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, Buglife‘s Campaigns Officer says, “Whilst thiamethoxam isn’t supposed to control slugs, it’s concerning that a pesticide can actually cause an increase of other pests.

“Putting food on the table depends on crop pollinators and crop predators – the natural pesticide – and this alarming result indicates that we must take the effects of artificial pesticides on all types of beneficial insect into account before we allow their use.”

Thiamethoxam is one of three neonicotinoids that were restricted last year by the EU due to their impact on pollinating insects such as honeybees.

However, neonicotinoids continue to be very widely used on wheat and other crops, despite mounting fears from organisations such as Birdlife that they can have severely negative effects on aquatic life, birds and crop predators.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife CEO says, “This is a horror story, neonicotinoids have been sold to farmers as an ‘insurance policy’, but in a no-till system predators are imperative to keeping pest populations low.

“We must understand how these chemicals came to be so widely used when their benefits are elusive.”

Buglife also wants the Government to ask the Competition and Markets Authority to undertake a review of the extent of commission based selling in the pesticides sector, the vulnerability of the market to distortion and restricted consumer choice, the prevalence of miss-selling and the effects on vulnerable farmers and the environment.

Neonicotinoids are harmful, new research: here.

4 thoughts on “Neonicotinoids mean more crop-eating slugs, new study

  1. Pingback: Honeybees killed, even by ‘relatively safe’ neonicotinoids | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Neonicotinoids kill bees, don’t help crop yields | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Good British bee news, but … | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: European Union neonicotinoid ban not enough for suburban bees | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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