16 Jan 2018

Mitre 10 to review bee-risk pesticides

4:34 pm on 16 January 2018

Hardware giant Mitre 10 has confirmed they are reviewing the sale of some pesticides after concerns they contain a chemical harmful to bees.

The Ministry for Primary Industries wants to be able to more accurately define the properties of manuka honey.

The Ministry for Primary Industries wants to be able to more accurately define the properties of manuka honey. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Bunnings Warehouse confirmed yesterday they would be stopping the sale of all products containing neonicotinoids by the end of the year.

The move will affect products across their United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand stores.

Mitre 10 chief executive Neil Cowie said they were aware of the decision but would consult with industry groups like the Environmental Protection Authority before making a decision of their own.

The company had looked at the matter before but a lack of New Zealand-based evidence meant it had relied on guidance from other groups, he said.

"With regards to products that may affect bee health, we have consulted with industry groups such as the Ministry for Primary Industries, Agcarm and the New Zealand Plant Producers Group.

"As a scientific consensus has not been reached with regards to neonicotinoids we are guided by regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency and MPI."

As the matter was complex and constantly evolving, the review would take some time, Mr Cowie said.

Neonicotinoids are proven to be toxic to bees https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/country/339900/miniscule-amounts-of-neonic-pesticides-harmful-research but whether the chemicals affect bee populations in New Zealand is unknown, because of a lack of data.

Experts and apiarists are calling for more studies to be done in order to conclude if New Zealand needs to regulate the chemicals more harshly.

They are currently regulated by the EPA, which forbids the spraying of neonicotinoids around beehives, on flowering plants and where bees are likely to forage.

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