Neurotoxic corn seed treatments kill bees and are a good deal only for vendors
Friday 15 April 2011
Contrary to what was announced by the sellers of plant protection products, and the chorus of their "scientific experts”, the ABSENCE OF CORN SEED TREATMENT FOR TWO YEARS HAS NO NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES FOR CROPS (actually, more the contrary). This is what a study developed in Italy has revealed.
The monitoring of rootworm found that in 2009 of the nearly 943,000 hectares of maize in Italy, have been found, damages of about 5%: only 13.700 hectares; a similar survey in 2010 has provided striking results: on 1.211.000 hectares were detected only 1.405 hectares of damage.
Blatant denial of who had brought this generation of new insecticides, in corn seed dressing form, as indispensable to counter the attack of the new corn pest: the western corn rootworm.
Even the presence of click beetles didn’t cause enough damage to justify in any way the use of these insecticides.
The consequences of the parasites actions are thus much smaller compared to the effect of phytotoxic insecticides on plant development.
The suspension of dressing corn was a great deal for the Italian corn producers.
The farmers have saved many millions of euro (in fact the sellers paid the chemical industry about 20-30 euro per hectare), without recording damage on the profitability of crops. This has helped to make the Italian corn production more competitive with European countries that still buy and use these kinds of insecticides which probably aren’t useful.
These data are not well advertised, but are included in research and surveys that attest the real trend of corn production (see references below).
Ultimately the real figures from 2009 and 2010 indicate that the use of pervasive chemical to combat infestations of rootworm and beetles is excessive and can compromise the delicate environmental balance.
We must convert to a more sustainable production cycle in districts where the agricultural production is based mostly on monoculture of corn to corn. Over the past decade, the Italian beekeepers have warned of the disastrous effects on bee colonies from exposure to contact with new molecules of neonicotinoides.
The research recorded in the field detected extensive colony collapse during the sowing but the phenomenon is more devastating on the hives in the long term do to the subtle action of these molecules in doses inappropriately called “sub-lethal”.
The beekeepers’ complaints have been confirmed by numerous national and international scientific studies.
In fact, following the suspension of the use of neurotoxic treatment Italian beekeepers in central-north have rediscovered the prosperity of the past, with two years of good production.
Before June, the Italian government will decide to consider the study of the field data and scientific research about the effects of systemic insecticides on bees and cultivation. The government will decide to permanently prohibit the systemic dressing of corn or to allow this product to be available to consumers if successfully persuaded by aggressive marketing campaigns which insight the fear of “dreadful plagues”.
Citations from the Publishing of “The Agricultural Informer” 5/2011 (most of the bold highlighted are made by Unaapi):
The 2010 corn rootworm: damage and syndication. Prepared by the working Group on corn’s rootworm of the Plant Protection Service.
…In the areas of confirmed presence of the pest in 2009 (breeding ground and infested areas) monitoring was carried out on fields of corn, possibly in a monoculture, with preference for those sites identified from the start of monitoring officers…
Summary of National result
- …in 2010, the Italian corn area was about 1.211.000 hectares, of which about 925.000 ha was corn for grain corn and 286.000 ha was waxy corn (Istat 2010; for waxy corn the most recent surveys is refer to 2009).
- The officially infested areas, * where the insects had been present for more than two consecutive year, with a more or less consistent population are the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, FriuliVenezia Giulia, the entire province of Savona in Liguria and a small portion of Lazio (Rome, Fiumicino).
- The area affected by the presence of the beetle has undergone a modest increase in 2010, with the expansion in corn-growing areas in Valle d’Aosta and the province of Bolzano. During this year the insect was found in Tuscany (in Vicchio next to Florence).
- Today the presence of D. virigifera is therefore extended to all of Northem Italy, part of Lazio (west of Rome) and to a limited area in Tuscany.
The result in different regions
- The first catch in 2010…no damage was detected, even in the fields were crop rotation is practiced.
- infested area…infestation levels were found in the province of Turin, Cuneo and Novara. Damage attributable to the infestations of D. virigifera virigifera were collected in the provinces of Turin and Cuneo; the field showed that the damage is visible and quite severe in about 4.700 ha, 2.5% of corn field in this region. The economic damage has only affected monoculture plot, about 1.300 ha, 0,7% of the total area planted with maize in Piedmont.
- infested area. The species has been present throughout the region since 2003 with a heterogeneous population. No severe damage has been detected. Larval populations were decreased compared to last year and adults appeared numerous only in a few areas. Limited enticements were observed in some monoculture plots, which are the dynamics of an insect that today is firmly established in Lombardy…
- infested area… Symptoms were noted on plants of about 15 ha and economic damage on 3 ha…
- the infested area. The catches of adults of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera with pheromone traps have decreased … The total area in this region were the corn fields were attacked is approximately 3 ha. An economic damage was found on 1,5 ha. In the others plots of the region were detected slight foliar damage, confined mainly to the leaves below the ear, no other symptoms were detected.
- : the infested area. Some plants with the characteristic “gooseneck or bedridden were found in eastern Friuli … elsewhere there have not been observed or reported enticements…
- Area haunted … Apart from some isolated situations, areas with monoculture conduction and the majority of the province of Piacenza the infestations of D. virgifera virgifera never exceeded the threshold. Elsewhere in the region no enticements were observed.”
For information regarding the investigation and/or the bibliography: www.informatoreagrario.it
Extracts from publication in the Supplement of The Agrarian Informer 7 / 2011 (highlights in bold are made by Unaapi):
Many years of experimentation in the Po valley. Integrated Pest Management of Maize: How to do it in the early stages. L. Furlan, C. Cappellari, C. Porrini, P. Radeghieri, R. Ferrari, M. Pozzati, M. Davanzo,S. Canzi, M.A. Saladini, A. Alma C. Balconi, M. Rapier
… “the first strategy is the constant knowledge of population levels of potentially harmful organisms. The best defense, therefore, is based on good agricultural strategies (changes under a system) which prevent these insect populations from increasing when you identify the trend on the rise. Thus most of the surface does not require pesticides during corn sowing…
Diabrotica vergifera vergifera
…the risk of damage by corn rootworm is presented only for the following species of corn, especially for several years (Boriani, 2006, 2008, Furlan, 2007; Reyneri et al. 2009; Sivčev et al., 2009) and only in areas with high populations ...
Click beetles and other pests in the soil
…” Incidences of high populations of beetles and/ or other insects in the soil, able to influence production levels were very low, as noted in the numerous studies that have been conducted over the past 25 years (under the 1% of the area under cultivation; Furlan, 1989, Furlan et al. 2002, 2007, 2009). The experimental results of the2009-2010 period confirm the above. In the samples of plots falling in the main corn fields where beetle populations were carefully monitored, along with their effects on corn in the absence of seed dressing, determined that the presence of the insects in the crops was not significant enough to damage the production (table1)…
... The incidence of plants with developmental abnormalities are attributable to viruses transmitted by insects, against which the basic struggle is based on the selection of resistant hybrids. The tests and test strip-plots conducted on the effects of using insecticides in plots are representative of much of the maize growing area. The tests show that the use of the insecticide does not significantly improve the production process where the presence of Bettles is detected (Table 2) ...
In limited cases where the populations of beetles were above the threshold of damage, ... experimentation and observations show that there is still the possibility that the insecticides does not ensure sufficient protection (Table 3).
With regards to the possible damage from Owlet moths, seed dressing is not useful and should be replaced using strategies based on monitoring and available scientific information (Furlan et al. 2001D, Furlan et al., 2009).
Part of the research was carried out under the project "APEnet: monitoring and research in beekeeping, and Mipaaf funded under the project" Elateridae» Emilia-Romagna.
For information regarding the investigation and / or the bibliography: www.informatoreagrario.it