8 Sep 2011

Greens say pesticides highly toxic to bees

9:04 pm on 8 September 2011

The Green Party wants the Government to urgently reassess a group of pesticides it says are highly toxic to honey bees.

The Greens have presented a petition signed by more 6500 people and a submission on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides to Parliament's Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

MP Sue Kedgley says these types of insecticides are used by farmers to control insects on crops and pastures and have been linked to bee deaths in other countries.

Ms Kedgley believes there should be an immediate suspension of their use until the Environmental Protection Agency re-assesses them and their effects on bees are known.

She says the Government also needs to develop a long-term strategy to improve the health of New Zealand's honey bees which have already been severely weakened due to the varroa bee mite.

However, the organisation which represents manufacturers and distributors of chemicals used for crop protection rejects the claims.

AGCARM chief executive Graham Peters says he has no issues about a review of neonictotinoids, but the suggestion the pesticides are linked to bee deaths overseas is misleading.

Mr Peters says the major issue for bee health in New Zealand is the resistance by the varroa mite to chemical treatment.