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The impact of restrictions on neonicotinoid and fipronil insecticides on pest management in maize, oilseed rape and sunflower in eight European Union regions

Kathage, Jonas, Castañera, Pedro, Alonso‐Prados, José Luis, Gómez‐Barbero, Manuel, Rodríguez‐Cerezo, Emilio
Pest management science 2018 v.74 no.1 pp. 88-99
Brassica napus, European Union, Helianthus annuus, case studies, clothianidin, corn, crops, farmers, fipronil, growing season, imidacloprid, pests, pyrethrins, seed treatment, seeds, soil, sowing, thiamethoxam
BACKGROUND: In 2013, the European Commission restricted the use of three neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) and the pyrazole fipronil, which are widely used to control early‐season pests. Here, we used original farm survey data to examine the impact of the restrictions on pest management practices in eight regional case studies including maize, oilseed rape and sunflower in seven European Union (EU) countries. RESULTS: In four case studies, farmers switched to using untreated seeds as no alternative seed treatments were available. In three case studies, farmers switched to using unrestricted neonicotinoid‐ or pyrethroid‐treated seeds. In five case studies, farmers increased the use of soil or foliar treatments, with pyrethroids as the principal insecticide class. Other changes in pest management practices ranged from increased sowing density to more frequent scouting for pests. Many farmers perceived that the time, cost and amount of insecticides required to protect crops increased, along with pest pressure. Alternative seed treatments were mostly perceived as being less effective than the restricted seed treatments. CONCLUSION: Farmers generally relied on alternative seed treatments or more soil/foliar treatments in the first growing season after the restrictions took effect. Further study is required to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of these alternatives compared with the restricted insecticides. © 2017 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.