Since we rely on bees to pollinate 90% of our food crops, you’d think we’d treat them with the utmost respect. But in Britain, regulators seem curiously indifferent to their wellbeing.

In the face of mounting evidence that neonicotinoids, the nerve poison pesticides used on crops, such as oilseed rape, are heavily implicated in the sharp decline in bee numbers, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (on the recommendation of the Chemicals Regulation Directorate) has merely kicked the issue into the long grass by asking for “further research”.

The French government is not so complacent. It banned Syngenta’s thiamethoxam because its expert scientists concluded that it was impairing the ability of honeybees to find their way back to their hives.

“Everyone in the audience who isn’t asleep knows who did for the bees”

In this country, researchers at the University of Stirling have demonstrated that queen bee numbers crashed by 85% after exposure to “field-realistic levels” of another neonicotinoid, Bayer’s imidacloprid. A further study from the US government’s chief bee expert found that even in miniscule doses, it makes bees more vulnerable to disease. This finding was echoed by Harvard research showing that imidacloprid is the prime suspect in colony collapse disorder, where bees desert their hives.

Just like an episode of Columbo, everyone in the audience who isn’t asleep knows who did for the bees, long before the culprit is finally nailed.

It has been apparent for decades that our pesticides ‘regulators’ are sleeping on the job, which must raise questions about some civil servants’ and committee members’ relationships with pesticide manufacturers. On they drone, reassuring us that routine residues of pesticides in our food poses no health risk. Next thing we know, they will be assuring us that a cocktail of pesticide residues is positively good for us, and beneficial for wildlife too.

Now the failure of the atrophied, ineffectual UK pesticide ‘regulation’ establishment to recommend a ban on neonicotinoids amounts to negligence. Unless action is taken against these potent bee-killers, you can forget food security, because there won’t be enough food on our plates.