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Bayer pesticide seal of approval stings Britain's beekeepers

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Brosville 

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/16/greenwash-bbka-bees-pesticides

Pesticides called neonicotinoids are widely implicated in the deaths of honeybees across the world. Their use has been restricted in France, Germany and Italy. The Co-op banned their use in its products and last week, the Soil Association in Britain launched a petition to get them banned.

So it is a shock to discover that the British Bee Keepers' Association (BBKA), a charity in its 135th year, is receiving money from one of the main manufacturers of the allegedly bee-killing brew, Bayer Crop Sciences, and endorsing some of its products as "bee-friendly". It comes as slightly less of a shock to find that many of its members are badly stung and campaigning against by the link-up.

Neonicotinoids come in a number of varieties, such as Bayer's clothianidin, banned in France and Germany from last year. The evidence against them is not proven. But, in 2004, the US government's Environmental Protection Agency allowed clothianidin to go on sale to farmers, noting that it could be toxic to honey bees and other pollinators through leaving residues in nectar and pollen. And its permission was conditional on Bayer supplying research data to back up its claim that the chemical was safe for bees.

But, despite a widely reported crisis in US bee colonies since, no data have ever been published and campaigners at the Natural Resources Defense Council recently went to court to get their release, assuming they exist.

A spokesperson for Bayer Crop Sciences said; "If misused, or used inappropriately, clothanidin will affect bees – that is why it is used as a seed treatment so that bees are not exposed to concentrations that will have any effect on them."

To be fair, the BBKA does not endorse Bayer's neonicotnoid brand. But it does provide its seal of approval to Decis, the company's pyrethroid insecticide, which many of its members also regard as a threat to bees.

The Bayer website reproduces the BBKA logo beside the statement that "Decis is endorsed by the British Bee Keepers Association" provided it is "used in the correct manner". The BBKA's president Tim Lovett said the organisation does not endorse the product as such, only its "proper use as per the label".

Many BBKA members are angry. In a post first published on the association website, Graham White, who resigned over the affair and set up a rival organisation, said: "BBKA is actively endorsing a product which is lethal to bees – it was designed to be lethal to any winged insect. Many of us believe that a secret deal done with the pesticide manufacturers – without recourse to BBKA's membership – has effectively silenced BBKA or any issue to do with the pesticides crisis."

His criticisms, and those of others, were subsequently taken down by the association, but have been reposted elsewhere. Lovett and Bayer Crop Sciences deny any secret deal. "We have no other contractual relationships with Bayer and in our experience we have never felt in a position whereby we cannot criticise the company or its products," said Lovett. A spokesperson for the company said the endorsement had been approved by BBKA members and included "no gagging clause, no restriction whatsoever".

They both said the purpose of the arrangement was to encourage the use of the pesticide that minimises the threat to bees, for example using the product when bees are not foraging and giving beekeepers sufficient notice of when spraying is planned.

The association endorses the use of four pesticides, including Decis. Each has an "endorsement agreement", though these are not made public, and no donation exceeds £15,000 over three years. According to Lovett, the annual fee for endorsement of Decis does not exceed four figures, but he would not disclose the precise sum.

Nonetheless, the BBKA is concerned enough about the potential toxicity of neonictinoids to call for new research. In January it warned that "current risk assessment methods for assessing the potential impacts of pesticides on honeybees may not be sensitive enough to detect sublethal effects, especially influences on honeybee behaviour. Such an example might be with neonictinoid compounds, with disorientation and possible memory loss contributing to colony losses." It asked for a reassessment of risk assessment methodologies.

The BBKA says its technical committee rules whether any endorsed products are "bee-friendly". Critics say the committee is composed not of independent experts but largely of association insiders, including its president Tim Lovett.
 

admin 

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Personally I am far more concerned with the "Cocktail" effect of the endorsed chemicals.

Its easy for each company to show that if used as per manufactures instructions bee dose's are sub fatal in individual products, but what if the bees forage on a cocktail, then what !

Research in America showed dead bees from CCD hives had up to 16 chemicals in the bloodstream.
 

jon 

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Is Graham White not the poster borderbeeman, ie in the scottish BKA.
Gavin will know.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Possibley, but not quite a rival in my eyes to the BBKA (splitting hairs I know).

But I just wanted to check that I have not missed out on joing the "other" British or English BKA that is not linked to Bayer!
 

jon 

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You English beekeepers need a rival organization which could play Judean People's front to the BBKA's Peoples Front of Judea.
Same with the two forums.
Splitters!
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Jon My question was a valid one. The report states a rival organisation, I am just asking what this is?

I make no refernece to any other forum.
 

jon 

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I haven't heard of any other.
 

admin 

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Maybe its Phils forum,Biobee ? as Borderbeeman is a member there.
 

steve1958 

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Front page article of October BBKA News:

BBKA Withdraws from the FERA Project Board
 

Brosville 

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Toys out of the pram job because they didn't get their mitts on ALL the money?
(And of course, "remaining independent" means they wouldn't have to waste time even dreaming "icides" could have the slightest thing to do with the price of fish..... seems logical to me!)
 

victor meldrew 

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Toys out of the pram job because they didn't get their mitts on ALL the money?
(And of course, "remaining independent" means they wouldn't have to waste time even dreaming "icides" could have the slightest thing to do with the price of fish..... seems logical to me!)
SUCH BILE ! you could solve the energy crisis with all that heat :ack2:.

John Wilkinson
 

Apis 

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...but back to the point, it's about the quality of the research. We all know about damn statistics and lies. It's what you choose to take from the results that matters, hence the limited interest in sub-lethal effects. 10 pints of 'Stowford' and I'm struggling to find my town yet alone my house, how many bees need to be disorientated by chemical effect before the colony as a whole suffers.
 

mikethebee 

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WE have known about it and been talking about this for a few years now!
WHATS HAPPEND bugger all.
Instead of organizing a petition to Downing Street it should have been a public hanging of THE BBKA and strip the bsterd from his well paid job and hang him from his chain.
More new beeks are joining the BBKA every day paying there fees into there pocket. Not having a clue what’s happening
Take a hobbiest that loses a hive or three he can walk away a few bob out of pocket.
Take a bee farmer that loses 1/3000 hives it’s his life the death of everything he worked for.
 

Rosti 

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To build on Apis' point, it is not beyond the bounds and is an imposed standard in other areas of the food and pharmacological manufacturing industries.

I have previously investigated chemical efficacy and validation, but at that time with a principal interest in human impact (particularly when I was responsible for technical standards of produce supplied to certain 'large chain' retailers). Outside of direct operator/consumer H&S impact the agrochemicals industry is largely self certifying the safety of it's products through dictation of test methodology. It then has the advantage of having site of the findings before enforcement review. This is at odds with the level of transparency and due diligence demanded in other areas of the agricultural, food and pharmacological sectors.

The sooner there is a government stipulated full insect life cycle, standard blue print agro-chemical evaluation model the better and it must cover both individual actives as well as compound products (the so called cocktail affect). Whilst agro-chemical producers determine, complete and fund the approval testing themselves there will always (and legitimately) be questions of bias raised. I think it would ultimately be better for the agro-industry as well as society in general if government put a bit more money into this field of agriculture and less in to the field of agriculture they are paying for, namely MPs back gardens.

:mad:
 
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