Just to remind folks about this particular thread:
Honeybees are not butterflies, of course. But given the lack of research about the possible effects of herbicides on bee brood, I thought this study of the effect of two herbicides on butterfly larvae might be worthy of note:
Journal of Insect Conservation
February 2010, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 53-63
Date: 29 Apr 2009
Effects of grass-specific herbicides on butterflies: an experimental investigation to advance conservation efforts
Cheryl Russell, Cheryl B. Schultz
Encroachment by invasive plants is a leading threat to rare butterflies. Restoration plans increasingly recommend herbicides to control invasive plants within butterfly habitats. Few studies address the effects of these herbicides on at-risk butterflies. The effects of two graminicides (fluazifop-p-butyl and sethoxydim) and a surfactant (Preference®) were evaluated on Icaricia icarioides blackmorei and Pieris rapae. The effects on butterfly larvae were assessed by mimicking recommended timing and mixture rates of field applications. Differences in survival to adult eclosure, development time, biomass, sex ratio and adult morphology were assessed. Survival of P. rapae was reduced by 32% with sethoxydim and 21% with fluazifop-p-butyl. Wing size and pupal weights of P. rapae were reduced by herbicide treatments. Icaricia icarioides blackmorei experienced a 21% reduction in development time from the date of treatment to eclosure. These results highlight the importance of careful consideration in the use of herbicides in habitats harboring at-risk butterfly populations.
on crop losses in the uk for the first season under the 'precautionary principle':
Similiar losses have been reported by the lobbyists in Germany. Interesting - did they really ban neonics in the UK? I just wonder, since this is new to me.
Published data indicate that in most cases there is_ no_difference in soybean yield when soybean seed was_treated with neonicotinoids versus not receiving_any insect control treatment. Furthermore,_neonicotinoid seed treatments as currently applied_are only bioactive in soybean_foliage for a period_within the first 3-4_weeks of planting, which does_not overlap with typical_periods of activity for some target pests of concern.
In most cases, these alternatives are comparable in cost to one another and to neonicotinoid seed treatments. The cost of application was considered in this comparison, although because these alternatives can be tank-mixed with other chemicals that are typically applied to soybeans, additional passes over a field would not be necessary. In comparison to the next best alternative pest control measures, neonicotinoid seed treatments likely provide $0 in benefits to growers and at most $6 per acre in benefits (i.e., a 0%-1.7% difference in net operating revenue). Some neonicotinoid seed treatment usage could provide an insurance benefit against sporadic and unpredictable pests, particularly in the southern United States. However, BEAD did not find information to support the real-world significance of this benefit, and overall evidence indicates that any such potential benefit is not likely to be large orwidespread in the United States.
Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments to Soybean Production
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Peer Review Date: October 3, 2014
looks like germany had a good year for rapeseed according to reuter's:
New post on Bee-L this morning. worth the read IMO.