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Don Mac

Neonicotinoid Study Published

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The first New Zealand soil residue study on neonicotinoid insecticides has just been published.

Note it is only the 4th study published on pesticide residues in the environment ever published in good old clean green NZ.

The cynic in me says "we really do care about the environment!"

 

Chris Pook and Iana Gritcan have published their work in the Journal of Environmental of Pollution in their December 2019 Publication.

The abstract s here;   https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749119301381?via%3Dihub

 Validation and application of a modified QuEChERS method for extracting neonicotinoid residues from New Zealand maize field soil reveals their persistence at nominally hazardous concentrations

 

The study has been published by Stuff https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/117759904/study-shows-chemicals-could-cause-beehive-losses

This morning Dr Pook also featured on Breakfast. Available on TVNZ On demand

 

The Study samples were gathered from sites in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Gisborne, where beekeepers have reported hive losses over many years, especially immediately after maize harvest.

Are you one of those beekeepers? We need these reports guys - no reports then there is no action!

 

This study owes a lot to the challenge I got from Neil Mossop of Mossops Honey who told me of their many years of experience of loosing hives, so much they do not place hives there anymore in these areas after maize harvest .

His challenge was to find out what is going wrong. Well we cannot confirm causation at this stage, but it is very apparent that our Ag practices are leaving significant neonicotinoid residues in the soil and environment.

 

Here are the main key points I have got from this study.

  1. Why is NZ not monitoring pesticide use? How much is used, where it is used and what chemistry is used? Examples of where this is used include Netherlands, California.
  2. Lack of monitoring and research into all pesticide residues in NZ This is the 4th paper published to date. We do not have a clue of what is happening in our environment. There is no testing of new pesticides on effects on native vertebrates. There is no ongoing monitoring and measuring of soil residues and waterway contamination.
  3. How are we using our pesticides? Seed treatments are used as prophylactic treatments, not specific targeted treatments. Are we apply to much with respect to seed treatments?
  4. Poor enforcement. The EPA has set Environmental Exposure Limits as per the HSNO Act. but has never measured the environment to see if limits are being exceeded. There is one exception 1080. The Minister for the Environment obviously does not care.  
  5. Honey bees gather what is in the environment when they collect nectar, propolis, pollen and water; the 4 main inputs to a hive. We know they are collecting; pthathlates (detected in propolis) fungicides in wax, glyphosate in honey etc.  And we have no research money as an industry to continue this work.
  6. Note the study has not yet linked the soil residues to the death of the hive, so we cannot state it is the causative factor or claim causation. The study has correlation because we went to known bee dead areas to obtain the soil samples.

 
 The study was funded by AUT. No beekeepers money was used to fund it - so we are all freeloaders. So how do we fund continuing research that could determine causation?

 

 

 

Edited by Don Mac
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Biggest problem in trying to delete the coating of the seeds is Monsanto (now Bayer) own shares in all the major seed producers, and they are not about to give up that large section of their sales anytime soon.

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2 hours ago, Sailabee said:

Biggest problem in trying to delete the coating of the seeds is Monsanto (now Bayer) own shares in all the major seed producers, and they are not about to give up that large section of their sales anytime soon.

unless being forced to. which they should

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And if the insecticides, herbicides and fungacides are removed for the bees health what are the options for pretty much the guaranteed food supply for you and me . I used to be a market gardener now have a few bees and mixed crop farm. I see crops get blown over all the time if bugs n diseases arent dealt to. So should the $$ go to finding a alternative to the chemicals in main stream use or into the blame game. I see a lot of belts getting let off a hole or 2  and that comes from the luxury of plenty of food so becareful not to shoot the hand that feeds you and work with it instead. Im all for alternative chemicals that benefit all but like all I cannot sacrafice my income either. 

Edited by Anne
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7 hours ago, Anne said:

So should the $$ go to finding a alternative to the chemicals in main stream use or into the blame game.

I know this can be a contentious issue, but having been in the organic sector for many years, my understanding is that pests and diseases diminish when the soil is treated properly, with composts and natural fertilisers that put into the soil what the crops being planted need. This creates healthy soil, healthy plants far less susceptible to pests and diseases, without the need for chemicals.
Yes it is more time intensive, but it should be seen as one of the solutions, and not just a fad as so many people think.
You don't need truckloads of chemicals to grow decent nutritious food, and the chemicals are just destroying what should be vital healthy soil. There are very few soil fauna in chemical laden soil. Such a shame.

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every time we get research into Neonics we seem to get the same answer that they may be causing problems. My own conclusions from doing pumpkin pollination are the same. There wasn't enough damage to the hives to prove conclusively to me that it was causing damage but those hives had higher losses and were below par for three years afterwards.

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it comes down to what produces more food.  wind pollination vs bee pollination. 

 

the answer is in the continued use of insecticides.   

 

also air-seeders are one of the biggest spreaders of the neo-nik dust 

1 hour ago, PhilEvans said:

I know this can be a contentious issue, but having been in the organic sector for many years, my understanding is that pests and diseases diminish when the soil is treated properly, with composts and natural fertilizers that put into the soil what the crops being planted need. This creates healthy soil, healthy plants far less susceptible to pests and diseases, without the need for chemicals.
Yes it is more time intensive, but it should be seen as one of the solutions, and not just a fad as so many people think.
You don't need truckloads of chemicals to grow decent nutritious food, and the chemicals are just destroying what should be vital healthy soil. There are very few soil fauna in chemical laden soil. Such a shame.

 Until it can compete financially with conventional cropping nothing will change.

Edited by nab
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2 hours ago, nab said:

Until it can compete financially with conventional cropping nothing will change.

Again, the big shame is that the word "conventional" is used for chemical laden food production, which is wrong. Organic production has been going on for millenia, and is conventional. Chemical production is just that, chemical, and really is the sop out lazy way to grow proper food.

 

Organic production can be far more financially viable, but it is the fact it is more labour intensive that puts people off. As I said, chemical production, which destroys so much of the environment, and so many necessary insects, is just lazy farming... If I upset anyone by saying this, I am not sorry, its just a fact.

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8 hours ago, PhilEvans said:

Again, the big shame is that the word "conventional" is used for chemical laden food production, which is wrong. Organic production has been going on for millenia, and is conventional. Chemical production is just that, chemical, and really is the sop out lazy way to grow proper food.

 

Organic production can be far more financially viable, but it is the fact it is more labour intensive that puts people off. As I said, chemical production, which destroys so much of the environment, and so many necessary insects, is just lazy farming... If I upset anyone by saying this, I am not sorry, its just a fact

I agree with what you are saying.

its called conventional because food was always produced to feed people. organics use to work fine 100 years ago. the use of chemicals to control pest and diseases to increase yield only come with the increase of human population.    the big question is who gets to choose what half of the world starves.  

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6 minutes ago, nab said:

I agree with what you are saying.

its called conventional because food was always produced to feed people. organics use to work fine 100 years ago. the use of chemicals to control pest and diseases to increase yield only come with the increase of human population.    the big question is who gets to choose what half of the world starves.  

Food would have to become more expensive .

People may have spent a bigger percentage of their income on food once than they do now .

Food has been kept artificially cheap by fossil fuels and pollitical necessity

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12 hours ago, PhilEvans said:

just lazy farming

I was pondering how lazy I was being this morning , tuning up a little bit of black berry on the road side that persists every year . It used to be a jungle many years ago , climbing fences and trapping wildlife amongst its thorns .

 

I wondered if I wasn’t being lazy , and left it to grow , how many townies would notice it and organise a working bee to clean it up , along with all the KFC rubbish that gets hiffed out the window , then I realised they wouldn’t.

 

My mind wandered , then , onto organic beef . I could produce it , but it would cost . I’d need to pay a full time team to weed the roadside , and the drains .

 

Anyone free on the weekend ? 

Edited by M4tt
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The dairy farmers who joined the Biological Farming Group - where they decrease their urea over five years for example, and reduce number of stock slightly find they are then far more profitable - for example, vet fees reduce dramatically. Bit like beekeeping right now, if EVERYONE reduced their hive numbers by 30%, they would need less of everything, including labour, and would be a great deal more profitable, with healthier bees. Unfortunately hell ain't about to freeze over.

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Hey Matt I am south of you and our blackberry is flowering, hope your not spraying while its flowering man

 

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11 hours ago, M4tt said:

I was pondering how lazy I was being this morning , tuning up a little bit of black berry on the road side that persists every year . It used to be a jungle many years ago , climbing fences and trapping wildlife amongst its thorns .

 

I wondered if I wasn’t being lazy , and left it to grow , how many townies would notice it and organise a working bee to clean it up , along with all the KFC rubbish that gets hiffed out the window , then I realised they wouldn’t.

 

My mind wandered , then , onto organic beef . I could produce it , but it would cost . I’d need to pay a full time team to weed the roadside , and the drains .

 

Anyone free on the weekend ? 

I thought blackberry was a good nectar source for bees that produced a surplus .

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It is down here anyway

47 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

I thought blackberry was a good nectar source for bees that produced a surplus .

It is down here at times

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12 hours ago, M4tt said:

I wondered if I wasn’t being lazy , and left it to grow , how many townies would notice it and organise a working bee to clean it up , along with all the KFC rubbish that gets hiffed out the window , then I realised they wouldn’t.

you'd probably get someone complaining about pest plants/weeds, plenty of people throwing kfc rubbish out the window, and nobody helping...

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8 hours ago, olbe said:

Hey Matt I am south of you and our blackberry is flowering, hope your not spraying while its flowering man

 

It doesn’t get mature enough to flower , although it does on a block over from me . The birds move the seeds around 

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10 hours ago, Bighands said:

It is down here anyway

It is down here at times

Do you get a flow off it up there?

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1 minute ago, Bighands said:

Do you get a flow off it up there?

 No, there isn’t enough 

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3 hours ago, M4tt said:

It doesn’t get mature enough to flower , although it does on a block over from me . The birds move the seeds around 

I leave mine alone in certain areas now .

It never really gets away here , too much bush .

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