7 May 2011

Beekeepers request investigation of insecticide

1:05 pm on 7 May 2011

The beekeeping industry is asking the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) to investigate a type of pesticide that could be lethal to bees.

It's feared that neonicatinoid insecticides could be contributing to colony collapse disorder, a condition wiping out bee populations throughout the world.

Beekeepers say the pesticides, used to coat seeds, have been in use in New Zealand for 19 years.

National Bee Keepers Association co-chief executive Daniel Paul says the insecticide leaches into the soil and is taken up by plants, leaving a residue in pollen which is then taken up by bees, disrupting their navigation and memory.

Mr Paul says there have been only a few anecdotal cases in Poverty Bay and in Canterbury of significant bee losses and there is no scientific evidence yet that the colony collapse disorder has struck New Zealand.

However says it would be irresponsible not to ask ERMA to look at reassessing the way the insecticides are allowed to be used.