Aphid Control Warning

Posted July 14, 2014


 Press Release 14th July 2014

AHBIC (Australian Honey Bee Industry Council) the Bee industry peak body warns on potentially damaging aphid control methods

Attempts to control green peach aphid in canola crops could potentially have a devastating impact on the Australian bee and pollination industry. The aphid is believed to be causing the spread of the damaging beet western yellows virus (BWYV) in canola crops in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

While the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) understands the need to control this pest in canola crops, some chemicals reportedly being used could damage the bee industry.

“We are concerned to hear reports that some products being used to combat the aphid contain the active imidacloprid, which is a systemic neonicotinoid chemical. While we are told these products will control the aphid and be safe to the crop, they will devastate any bees and beehives foraging on that canola. In addition, some of these products are not registered for foliar application in canola according to the APVMA,” AHBIC chairman Ian Zadow explains.

Foliar-spraying these products on canola is extremely hazardous to any foraging insect, even if sprayed well before flowering – bees located up to seven kilometres from a treated paddock could still be at risk.

“The immediate concern is the effect on other pollination-reliant crops – alarmingly we’ve heard reports that this practice has occurred within flight range of almond properties where beehives are expect to arrive within days,” Mr Zadow says.

AHBIC calls for growers and agronomists that have used these products to ensure that any beehive owners within a seven-kilometre radius have been notified.

The organisation also urges neighbouring landholders who currently have, or will soon have, beehives on their properties to have open lines of communication.

“Unfortunately this practice has the potential to decimate hives that visit treated crops, causing acute financial losses to both the apiary and pollination-reliant industries, Mr Zadow says.

While AHBIC is not advocating a no-treatment policy of the aphids, it is aware of products available containing the active ingredient sulfoxaflor that are registered for this specific use. “Whilst sulfoxaflor is part of the neonicotinoid family, it is a newly registered compound and much softer on non-target insects once it dries.

The most important thing here is for open lines of communication about the impact certain chemicals can have on our industry,” Mr Zadow concluded.

Both AHBIC Chairman Ian Zadow (0429 433 125) and Executive Director Trevor Weatherhead (07 5467 2265) are available for interview.


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