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Plant Health Australia Symposium on neonicotinoids and other insecticides 1.0

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Plant Health Australia Symposium on neonicotinoids and other insecticides

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Useful documentation from a conference held in April this year in Canberra by Plant Health Australia (PHA). The symposium [I]"brought together key representatives from agricultural and horticultural industries, governments, research and development agencies and other affiliated organisations to discuss the broad issues of the possible risks of pesticides, including the neonicotinoids, on insect pollinators. The symposium brought together more than 80 representatives from government agencies, the honey bee industry, pollination-reliant crop industries and researchers, to examine information gathered globally on the effects of neonicotinoids on insect pollinators. Factors affecting the honey bee industry and role of pollinators in the agricultural landscape were explored, in addition to best-practice pollination by growers and apiarists providing pollination services, and product stewardship for the use of neonicotinoids in Australia. Global development of methods to examine pesticide impacts on honey bees were outlined and scientific evidence from global investigations into neonicotinoids presented. The symposium also enabled the findings of the APVMA's report into honey bee health and the use of neonicotinoids to be presented, including various recommendations arising from the review. In summary, the overall message conveyed at the symposium was that neonicotinoids are unlikely to be presenting any greater threat to honey bees and crop pollination than other pesticides which have been in use for many years. Neonicotinoids can adversely impact bee populations if used incorrectly, as can many other pesticides; however these impacts can be minimised with proper use and effective communication between the farmer and the beekeeper. Improved labelling of pesticides would assist this process, including the addition of bee warning statements and more user guidance. Overall, it is likely that the introduction of neonicotinoids has reduced the risks to the environment from the application of insecticides. However, further research in an Australian context would be useful, in particular given the opportunity to study honey bee health in an environment free of the Varroa mite."[/I]

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