Neonicotinoids in New Zealand Agriculture

Neonicotinoids in New Zealand Agriculture

2017年10月30日

Neonic products have been widely used in New Zealand for over 20 years but there little research about the impact of the pesticide on New Zealand bee populations.

New Zealand enjoys a healthy and growing bee population, carefully managed by New Zealand beekeepers and overseen by a robust regulatory framework.

What are Neonics?

Neonicotinoids (neonics) are a group of modern insecticides noted for their effective insect control but low toxicity in humans and other mammals;
Neonics are systemic and, when applied to the seed or the roots (as a soil drench), protect the plant from insect attack. There are several neonic insecticides which can be used as foliar sprays, but their use is limited.

What is the history?

Neonics have been available for use in New Zealand and Australia for more than 20 years. Like most chemicals, they come with risks as well as benefits;
In New Zealand strict regulations have been in place for many years around the use of a class of insecticides that contain neonics;
It is the role of New Zealand’s environmental regulator, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) job to manage those risks;
The EPA does this by setting rules around neonicotinoid use that include special measures solely to protect bees;

These rules include:

  • No spraying near hives;
  • No spraying on crops likely to be visited by bees, or when bees are foraging;
  • No spraying when flowering crops or weeds are present in the treated area;
  • Avoid spraying budding or flowering plants. (This restriction means users cannot use neonicotinoids on plants that are in flower, or even those that are going to flower soon;
  • Most importantly, they must not be used on flowering crops.

 

What are the trade names of the main neonics available in New Zealand and on what crops are they used?

Foliar use

Actara (active ingredient: thiamethoxam) for kiwifruit, pipfruit and in-furrow application on potatoes.
Calypso (active ingredient: thiacloprid) for avocados, kiwifruit, pipfruit and stonefruit.
Confidor (active ingredient: imidacloprid) for application on onions and as transplant tray treatment of vegetable brassicas and lettuce.

Seed treatment application

Cruiser (active ingredient: thiamethoxam) for maize/sweetcorn and forage brassicas.
Gaucho (active ingredient: imidacloprid) for cereals, forage brassicas, grass seed, maize/sweetcorn, potatoes and winter squash/pumpkins.

Poncho (active ingredient: clothianidin) for cereals, maize/sweetcorn, forage brassicas and grass seed.
Are we concerned by the findings of the latest research?

There are a lot of differences to the way in which Neonics are used in New Zealand, and so we cannot simply apply the findings of this research to New Zealand’s situation. These differences include:

  • The crops grown,
  • The way we grow our crops; and
  • Our regulatory framework;

A lot of the concerns raised about Neonics and bee health relate to crops that are not grown in New Zealand, for example, Almonds;
New Zealand’s land is typically planted in a much more diverse means than in Europe, where planting tends to be in larger and more homogenous blocks;
Many of our native honeys are wild gathered crops such as manuka and that’s an important difference between New Zealand and many more densely populated countries. Our honey is harvested by and large from hill country and bush.
New Zealand’s regulatory framework includes a strict approval regime run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as chemical monitoring and testing run by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). In addition to this, all people handling Neonics require training – this is not the case in Europe.

What’s the impact of Neonics in NZ honey

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has a number of residue monitoring programmes associated with the Animal Products Act (APA), the Food Act and the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act;
The residue monitoring programmes cover the full range of primary products (meat, seafood, honey, milk and dairy products), and fresh produce intended for export and domestic consumption, as well as general food, as consumed by the average New Zealand person;
These programmes are based on ensuring that we have the confidence and requisite assurance that food is safe and good agricultural practice (GAP) is being followed;
MPI regularly reviews the programmes to consider new chemicals of interest, changing use patterns, new scientific information and trade requirements;
The results from MPI’s latest tests (2013/140 are outlined below and highlight no detection of neonics in the honey tested:

Total number of samples & tests planned and reported for 2013/2014 – Honey


What’s the impact in NZ of neonics on bee health

Neonic products have been widely used in New Zealand for over 20 years but there little research about the impact of the pesticide on New Zealand bee populations;
New Zealand enjoys a healthy and growing bee population, carefully managed by New Zealand beekeepers and overseen by a robust regulatory framework.

The EU is looking at potentially banning all neonics – what’s ApiNZ’s view?

These pesticides are commonly used in New Zealand and while there’s strong scientific consensus internationally that bees exposed to neonics suffer harm, research about the impact of the pesticide on New Zealand bee populations is limited.
We would want to know a lot more before we can make an informed choice here in New Zealand.
The regulatory authority, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), operates under a robust science and evidence-based risk assessment system. On this basis, the European decision should have no influence on what happens in New Zealand.

Proud supporters of Apiculture New Zealand 2017

Proud supporters of Apiculture New Zealand 2017

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