Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bee/Bird Toxic Wine Grape Pesticide Short Lived? Not So, Says Top UK Expert

UK Biologist Dave Goulson, of the University of Sussex, has just published research in the Journal of Applied Ecology showing that neonicotinoids - commonly used in California vineyards (as well as across the U.S. and Europe) - kill earthworms and stay in the soil for one to four years.

Goulson is one of the UK's leading conservationists and founder of the 8,000-member Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Quoted in Nature, Goulson says. "If you apply these chemicals once a year on crops, they will accumulate. All of these studies suggest the half-life of these chemicals is between one and four years," Goulson.

While pesticide proponents often and confidently proclaim that the newer pesticides are much more targeted in their impacts, Goulson's summary states"...the current use of neonicotinoids is likely to be impacting on a broad range of non-target taxa including pollinators and soil and aquatic invertebrates and hence threatens a range of ecosystem services."

Wine grape growers used more than 47,000 pounds of neonicotinoids in California in 2011.

Just one more reason to seek out organically grown wine grapes in your wine - organic growers, unlike 90 percent of California's nonorganic growers, don't use neonicotinoids in their vineyards.

Goulson spoke at Berkeley in April of this year on the Ecology and Conservation of Bumblebees

He is the author of the newly published book A Sting in the Tale. You can read a review of the book from the UK's Guardian here.

The EU has imposed a two year ban on the use of neonicotinoids after initial research in Italy and other countries showed a positive impact on bee populations when the insecticides were banned. In the U.S. the EPA has decided against banning neonics.

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