HC Deb 15 May 1968 vol 764 cc1212-3
25. Mr. Farr

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to encourage the use of granular insecticides this year in order to reduce the loss of bees and other useful insects.

Mr. Mackie

My Department has already begun, and will continue to give, seasonal publicity on ways of avoiding harm to bees arising from the use of pesticides. The National Agricultural Advisory Service will be encouraging farmers to adopt methods of control which do least harm to bees and will advocate the use of granular insecticides wherever appropriate.

Mr. Farr

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask whether he is satisfied that his message is drawing the attention of farmers to the very real value of bees for increasing certain crop yields?

Mr. Mackie

I do not think that the agricultural community needs to be given that piece of advice. We all know the value of bees, especially those of us who are growing beans. I was at an agricultural executive committee meeting not far from the hon. Member's constituency the other day, and when I entered the room the discussion was about the use of these granular insecticides. Our N.A.A.S. representative was giving advice to farmers. I can assure the hon. Member that steps are being taken, but there are occasions when granular insecticides are not so appropriate as wet spray.