‘Bee-killing ‘ sprays could harm birds as well, including the wild grey partridge, according to the latest research. Neonicotinoids-systemic pesticides that are applied to crops such as oilseed rape as a seed treatment, which is absorbed into the plant as it grows-were partially banned in Europe last year.

A new study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, has found that birds may also be under threat from ‘neonics’. ‘Use of [certain types of neonicotinoids] as seed treatments on some crops poses risks to small birds, and ingestion of even a few treated seeds could cause mortality or reproductive impairment to sensitive bird species.’

Dr David Gibbons, Chief Scientist at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science and one of the authors of the report, believes: ‘Although the effects on birds and other vertebrates remain unclear, the analysis suggests they are at risk, both from the direct toxicity of these chemicals, and by depleting the numbers of other insects on which they depend for food.’

However, the NFU is calling for the two-year ban on neonicotinoids to be lifted this autumn because it believes reverting to older pesticides, such as pyrethroids, could be doing more harm than good and that more research into whether or not neonicotinoids kill bees should be carried bout in the field rather than the laboratory.

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  • Pete

    No mention about development of terpenes as alternative See http://www.edenresearch.com/html/technology/chemistry.asp

  • W. Ferguson

    Who understands the logic??? A pesticide is found to be harmfull to bees and possibly, even very likley, birds.

    Yet we should allow it, because other pesticdes are also harmfull…..

    When do we invent the pesticide that effectivelly kills our brood, I call for an imediate application on all our food crops, may be we will then for once and for all ultimatly understand than what it effectivelly means…..this logic.

  • Henk Tennekes

    I wish Dr Gibbons would have adopted a similar position when he was one of the experts reviewing my evidence implicating neonics in insect and bird decline at a meeting in Paris in 2010. However, at the time he brushed it aside. That was probably a major reason why the RSPB never called for a ban on neonics. Your article demonstrates that Dr Gibbons decided to jump on the bandwagon.