In its comprehensive report on national bee health, the New Zealand Parliamentary Primary Production Committee dedicates one chapter specifically to neonicotinoid insecticides.
Addressing concerns about a connection between neonics and Colony Collapse Disorder, the report states: “There is currently no evidence of the disorder in New Zealand, although these pesticides are commonly used here as a seed dressing and as foliar sprays.”
The report also talks about the restriction of neonicotinoid use in the EU, stating that as far as New Zealand’s bees are concerned, “there is no evidence that these pesticides, when used correctly, are affecting bees’ health”. In fact, neonicotinoids have been used in New Zealand since the early 1990s with little controversy, say the authors. Commenting on suspected problems that have come to light in the EU more recently they say: “We heard that when anecdotal evidence of losses is investigated, the causes seem to be mainly Varroa mites or starvation rather than pesticides.”
The parliamentary briefing also refers to the results of a recent report published in neighbouring Australia, where neonicotinoids are used extensively. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, they say, “has also found little evidence of a problem.”
The report goes on to point out a series of factors that do impact bee health in New Zealand, among them lack of good quality pollen sources, pests such as the Varroa mite, and lack of genetic diversity.
Read the Parliamentary report on bee health in New Zealand.