A widely used pesticide that had been classified as being ‘bee-safe’ may in fact cause the pollinating insects harm when used in tandem with a common fungicide.
The pesticide, flupyradifurone, was touted as a better alternative to the controversial and now-restricted neonicotinoid family of chemicals.
But researchers have shown that, under certain conditions, it can render bees sluggish and uncoordinated.
With solo pesticide approvals not factoring in how treatments can interact, concerns should be raised over the safety of currently approved pesticides, the experts say.
Much controversy has surrounded the use of neonicotinoid pest sprays – which are commonly dubbed ‘neonics’ – after it was demonstrated that they had harmful impacts on bee populations.
Following many bans on the chemicals around the globe, farmers have turned to more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
One such insecticide is flupyradifurone – which has a similar mode of action and systemic properties as the now restricted neonics.
Despite working in a similar way, flupyradifurone is chemically distinct from neonics – meaning that, as it is also a relatively new product, few pests are presently resistant to its effects.