Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Good news for bees

This morning's radio news had something I have been waiting to hear for a long time now, and it's good news for bees. The European Union has voted to impose a two-year ban on a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, which research shows are very likely to be responsible for the dramatic decline in bee populations in many countries. You can read more about it here, at this article in the Guardian. And here's a good article from 'The Conversation' website, written by Prof. Nigel Andrew, Associate Professor of Entomology at the University of New England here in Australia.

My garden is full of bees, and I aim to keep it that way by using
very few sprays, and only organic sprays when I do try to
control some kind of pest that's damaging my plants. But which
are the dodgy sprays that you should avoid?

That's the problem with these news reports. They always sound
like scientific papers, with all these impossible to remember
chemical names. So, I thought I'd mention some of the brand
names which are much more familiar to we gardeners.

For me, here in Australia, the product I avoid is Confidor. It
contains imidacloprid. When I first came across Confidor in
my gardening magazine work several years ago, it came with
marketing hype that said it was 'new generation' and 'much safer'.
So much for marketing hype, eh? If you read the label on a
Confidor pack, and you're an organic gardener, you'd stay
away from it anyway, but it has taken widespread use of
these chemicals to build a truer picture of its dangers to bees
and other insects it was never intended to control.
Now, I know from the little spinning world globe at the top of my blog that I have readers around the world, and a lot of you probably are thinking "What's Confidor, never heard of it?" So here's a list which I have seen repeated on several other blogs and websites, of the brand names which used neonicotinoid chemicals subject to the EU ban.

Brand names for imidacloprid include: Kohinor, Admire, Advantage, Gaucho, Merit, Confidor, Hachikusan, Premise, Prothor, and Winner. 
Brand names for clothianidin include: Gaucho, Titan, Clutch, Belay, Arena.
Brand names for acetamiprid include: Assail, Intruder, Adjust.
Brand names for thiacloprid include: Calypso.
Brand names for thiamethoxam include: Actara, Cruiser, Helix, Platinum, Centric.


Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

What a great post Jamie! Those lists of bee-unfriendly chemicals...such excellent knowledge translation. Knowledge translation is my PhD topic (but in cerebral palsy..not bees), so I always love it when someone takes sound scientific information and translates it into information that can change behaviour. I was pleased to hear the news on the pesticide bans too. Excellent reminder for me to plant out some more flower seeds. Thanks.

Jamie said...

Thanks Lanie. I like that term 'knowledge translation', much more acceptable than the one I usually use (which is 'cutting through the crap').

You're right about the flower seeds too. I've just sown some nigella (love in a mist) to keep the bees busy next spring.

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

Embarrassing that the UK government voted against the ban. We are, none the less, bound by it.

Banaghaisge said...

Any progress on a ban? I see COnfidor is still being sold by Yates :( http://www.yates.com.au/products/pest-control/insects-concentrates/bayer-confidor-garden-insecticide-concentrate/