Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bayer upset by neonic report

Bayer, the leader in marketing neonicitinoid insecticides, is critical of a United States Environmental Protection Agency report which says they can, in some circumstances, harm honeybees.

While the report fell short of criticisms by beekeepers and environmentalists who want a ban on all neonicitinoids, it drew an angry response from Bayer.

It’s significant for Ontario grain growers that the U.S. report said honeybees do not appear to be at significant risk when neonicitinoids are used as seed treatments on corn.

The Canadian report echoes that, saying "The residue levels in crop pollen and nectar resulting from seed treatment uses are typically below levels expected to pose a risk to bees at both the individual bee and colony levels."

It said more research is required for legumes. That includes soybeans, the other major Ontario cash crop.

Imidacloprid-maker Bayer Crop Sciences said EPA "appears to overestimate the potential for harmful exposures in certain crops" and ignore its benefits.

The EPA report said cotton and citrus are crops where using neonicitinoids threatens honeybees.
"With hundreds of studies conducted and their demonstrated safe use on farmland across the country, we know more about the safe use of neonics to honey bees than any other pesticide," Bayer Vice President Dana Sargent said in a statement.

Canada’s Pest Management Review Agency issued a waffling report, neither condemning nor supporting the continued use of neonicitinoids as seed treatments and noting that the current review is being conducted jointly with the U.S. EPA.

It says more studies are required. But it also says it appears best to use them only when and where there is a threat of crop losses to insects the pesticides can counter.

It said in its statement that neonicitinoids appears to yield an economic benefit of $74.2 to $83.3 million for Ontario’s corn growers and $37.3 to $51 million for Ontario soybean growers.

The PMRA says it expects final reports on imidaclorprid and thaimethoxam by the end of this year and clothiianidin by 2017.