Finnish research on neonicotinoid seed treatment has provided results which contradict many of the studies on which the European Commission based its ban on the products. In the trials in Finland residue levels were so low they seemed to cause no acute harm to bees according to the researchers.
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira launched the Neomehi project after Finland (along with the UK) objected to the Commissions decision to ban the use of neonicotinoid products as seed treatments for crops favoured by bees. The project aims to examine the impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees in the cultivation of spring oilseed crops.
“Neonicotinoid seed treatment seems to have no immediate impact on bee survival in Finland,” said researcher Jarmo Ketola, who headed the soon-to-be-completed project. The suspected risks of their detrimental effects were observed in more southerly farming conditions.
The residue levels in the samples collected from the hives were so low that acute harm to bees is unlikely. However, risks associated with reproduction and orientation behaviour cannot be ruled out, explained Evira senior researcher Kati Hakala
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