Call for information on clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam

Our call for information closed on 30 December 2018. We reviewed the responses and have produced a brief summary of information on these three neonicotinoids.

Responses to the call for information

We received 22 responses to our call for information on three neonicotinoid pesticides: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, and their use in New Zealand.

Read our summary of the responses (pdf, 365 KB)

Information from all of the responses will be used to inform our proposed reassessment of neonicotinoids.

Grounds for reassessment

Since we held the call for information, a Decision-making Committee of the EPA has determined that there are grounds to reassess neonicotinoids in New Zealand. The grounds for reassessment were established in December 2019, and included five neonicotinoids: clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, thiacloprid and acetamiprid. Establishing grounds is the first step towards a reassessment under the HSNO Act.

Read the grounds for the reassessment of neonicotinoids documents

Next steps

We intend to proceed with the next steps of the proposed reassessment of neonicotinoids. A reassessment is a formal review of the rules controlling a substance that is already in use in New Zealand. We are looking at opportunities to work collaboratively with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) on some technical aspects of the review.

We have also opened a call for information on the two other neonicotinoids included in the grounds decision, thiacloprid and acetamiprid. Information from the current call for information and the information gathered in 2018 will be used to inform our proposed reassessment.

Read more about our call for information on thiacloprid and acetamiprid

Background to this call for information

Neonicotinoid pesticides can impact bees and other pollinators if not used correctly. They have been available for use in New Zealand for more than 20 years.

There are a variety of substances containing clothianidin, imidacloprid or thiamethoxam which may be used in the agricultural and horticultural sector as seed coating treatments, soil drenches or foliar sprays. Imidacloprid-containing substances may also be used in various veterinary treatments such as tick control and flea treatments, or in home garden insecticides.

We set rules around the use of these substances, which include particular rules to mitigate risks to pollinators, such as restrictions on use on flowering crops or near hives.

The European Food Safety Authority published updated risk assessments on plant protection products containing these neonicotinoids in February 2018. We believe that their findings may be of relevance to our New Zealand environment.

In order to fully understand the potential risks in a New Zealand context associated with these neonicotinoids, we need to ensure that we have the most up-to-date and accurate information about their use here.

This open call for information offers interested parties and/or stakeholders an opportunity to provide data on clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam and their use in New Zealand.

We would like information on the types of neonicotinoid-containing substances that are currently being used in New Zealand, the ways in which the substances are being used, the prevalence of those uses, and specific mitigation measures that are being used to protect our environment.

Information we sought

Manufacture and import volumes

Please supply any information relating to the quantities of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam imported annually into New Zealand. Information may include data on the quantities of neonicotinoid-containing substances being formulated here or imported into the country, and the concentration of active ingredient in these substances, or data on the quantities of seeds pre-treated with neonicotinoids that are being imported into New Zealand. Annual sales data in New Zealand is also relevant.

Use and application information

We would like to know which types of neonicotinoid-containing substances are currently being used in New Zealand, i.e. seed coating treatments, soil drenches, foliar sprays, veterinary treatments, or home garden insecticides. For substances used in the agricultural and horticultural sectors, we are seeking information on the use patterns for different crops (which may be provided in GAP table format), the prevalence of use for each different crop type, and whether this use corresponds with a particular product label or is an off-label use.

Environmental exposure mitigation measures

We are seeking information on any mitigation measures that are currently being used to limit environmental exposure for substances containing clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, including industry practices that are additional to any label requirements. We would like to know whether any measures are currently being used to minimise dust drift from granules or seed treatments, or to minimise spray drift from foliar sprays.

Scientific and technical information

We would welcome any scientific or technical information (either published or unpublished reports) relating to clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.  This may include study reports on the toxicology or ecotoxicology of substances containing these neonicotinoids, literature on the use of these substances in New Zealand, or environmental monitoring data on the presence of these substances in New Zealand.

Information about alternatives

We are interested in any information on the availability of alternatives for each of the identified uses, and the relative cost, effectiveness, and safety of those alternatives.