We were all delighted to hear that the bees had won in the fight against the use of neonicotinoid chemicals on crops. Unfortunately, experts have found that just banning these chemicals for a two year trial throughout the European Union does not go far enough. A study in Holland has shown that the chemical imidacloprid which is used throughout the world not only to treat crops but to combat fleas and other pests in cattle, dogs and cats, is ending up in the water in ditches to such an extent that it could be used as an effective pesticide in itself. The result of this study is the call for imidacloprid to be banned worldwide as it is far too dangerous to dragonflies, mayflies, midges, snails and other water living species to carry on its use.
This new research has shown that there are 70% fewer invertebrate species found in water polluted with this chemical than clean water and far fewer individuals of each species. The knock-on effect of this is, of course, that swallows and other birds that rely on flying insects for food, will find it harder to survive. We have already destroyed the habitats of many of our native birds with the over-use of pesticides on our fields and now we find a tangible threat to one of our most loved spring visitors.
There are many things that we do when we grow food to feed an increasing world population and more and more we discover the detrimental effect of lots of them.
Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.