Border Bees Diary

Diary of a Beekeeper in the Scottish Borders


Posted by borderglider on May 23, 2008

Bayer -the giant multinational pesticide manufacturer is actively using the name and logo of the British Beekeeping Association to promote and sell an insecticide called ‘DECIS’. Take a look at their ‘advert’ at:


“decis is endorsed by the British Bee Keepers Association when used according to the following guidelines:

  • Spray in the evening or very early morning when fewer bees are foraging.
  • Take care to prevent drift toward hives in the treated field.
  • Avoid triazole fungicide tank mixes.
  • Give local beekeepers as much notice as possible.

Bayer goes on to say that the active insecticide is DELTAMETHRIN and that . . . .

” you can be sure that all the active ingredient you spray will be insecticidal. This is coupled with a long duration of activity, rapid knockdown and short pre-harvest intervals.”


Here we have our national beekeeping organisation accepting large sums of cash from Bayer – for endorsing an insecticide as being “bee friendly”; when Bayer’s own marketing blurb stresses that this is a ‘long duration insecticide’ with rapid ‘knock down’. It is appalling that – contrary to the stated objections of many of BBKA’s membership, the excutive has allegedly been in receipt of cash payments in the order of £20,000 per annum since 2003 – for endorsing pesticides which kill bees! You couldn’t make it up! This is the equivalent of Alcoholics Anonymous taking cash from a whisky manufacturing company for endorsing their booze as being “friendly to alcoholics if consumed in the recommended dosage”.



  1. The BBKA’s position on pesticides is becoming increasingly untenable, especially with the recent mass killing by Bayer of German bees. BBKA members should petition the executive to withdraw from their contract with agri-corporations immediately.

  2. Peter Smith said

    This is quite an incredible story, and, remember it was only revealed to BBKA members through a query at a BBKA Meeting. The endorsement was not voted on prior to acceptance.
    BBKA has stated that they are not endorsing the product, only the method of application, with exhortations to Farmers and spray contractors to spray responsibly. This plea was of no concern to the farmer spraying oil seed rape in flower just before midday one day last week
    As we all know, the products are stated to have ‘fast knock down’, ‘long life’ etc. Not only do the products kill insects, there are learned papers published to the effect that they are dangerous to humans and the environment and highly toxic. Just read the product label to see the possible effects on operators using the product and precautions necessaary to prevent deleterious effects to human health.
    The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution recommended that much more research be carried out into these products.
    The BBKA states that there have been no losses of bees since the endorsements. A fundamental law of science is that it is not possible to prove a negative. Of the toal number of beekeepers, most are hobbyist mostly looking at their bees on weekly basis and not be able to say if the number of bees in any hive has reduced over the week. As the product label proudly states, there is ..’a fast knock-down..’ and any affected bees would find not find their way back to the hive..
    The products are tested for the L50 level and being used individually. Very little consideration has been given to the effectss of the products at sub-lethal levels and the effect of mixing cocktails of several products.
    ‘The Silence of the Bees’ currently being shown on TV gives graphic evidence of the problems of pesticide use where the products have completely wiped out bees in an area of China and pollination is now carried out by hand.
    Like many of today’s problems, the true picture will only be clear when it is too late.
    Peter Smith

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