Pesticides and bee health


Your article Pesticide that kills bees ‘must be banned ’ is in serious danger of misrepresenting the causes of recent declines in bee health.

The article was wrong to say the French Minister of Agriculture had banned Cruiser OSR: the ban was not put in place until 29 June. However, despite the French safety agency, ANSES, and the European Food Standards Agency challenging the ban, the French Government has chosen to put the ban in place based upon just one experimental laboratory study which has never been validated by expert panels.

Cruiser OSR has been used on several million hectares of oil seed rape in Europe over the last 10 years without any damage to bees.

Cruiser OSR is one of the most advanced crop protection technologies available targeting only those pests which damage the oil seed rape crop.

By protecting the crop from pests which can destroy up to 30% of the produce, Cruiser OSR creates an additional €100m of value for farmers and the oil seed rape chain in France (and nearly €1 billion across the EU) helping to guarantee safe, healthy affordable food for all.

The world-wide decline in bee populations is a genuine cause for concern but there is no agreement on its causes. Given the global nature of the problem, the objectively assessed facts point away from plant protection products being the dominant causal factor. Loss of habitat and Colony Collapse Disorder, brought on by the parasitic mite Varroa and the viruses they carry, as well as other honeybee diseases such as Nosema, are significant contributors to declining bee populations.

Dr Phil Botham
Head of Product Safety, Europe
Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre, Berkshire, UK