I have to paraphrase it for reasons which will become apparent.
They put a post on Facebook that suggested that 1 teaspoon of Neonicotinoids "could kill 650 Billion bees"
They have a history with rabble-rousing headlines and inaccurate memes so I commented - simply asking if it was true.
"Carys" came back with two links - one to a blog and another to an academic paper that apparently explained the figures but I couldn't see an explanation and commented saying this. I also commented that as Neonics have been deployed by the ton for many years, their figure seemed highly implausible.
I got a facebook PM as follows...
The FB post linked to an article on their website which was also taken down. Wish I'd screen grabbed it all.Hi Simon,
I just wanted to let you know the workings out of the statistic:
· The LD50 of imidacloprid (the dose at which 50% of insects would be killed) is an LD50 of 4ng per bee (This is in the first article I shared with you)
· One gram = 1 billion (1000,000,000) nanograms.
· So, if one teaspoon = 5 grams = 5 billion nanograms = enough to deliver the LD50 of 4ng to 1 billion bees. That is equal to 650 million.
The reason I have messaged you is because you were right to question this statistic. Rather than being an error with the methodology it was a human error. When I originally made this info graphic, the statistic I was given was 1.25 billion. We did a lot of research into this statistic. It turned out that we could securely say that 650 million would be killed, but that it was highly likely that up to 1.25 billion could be.
As a result when I uploaded the wrong version to Facebook, where it said billion instead of million, I did not notice the error.
This was entirely my fault and I take full reprehensibility for this mistake and it really should not have happened. This does not at all reflect the integrity of Soil Associations work and was in fact a human error on my part.
I would like to thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have subsequently taken the post down. I have chosen to take it down rather than replace it because i do not have access to my work whilst outside of the office.
I hope you can understand the error and why it happened.
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Anyway - thinking about it the amended figure is still utterly implausible. Although the maths might well be right the concept is horribly flawed - it makes the assumption that it is possible to actually deliver 4ng to 650,000,000 bees which is about as plausible as me inseminating 250,000,000 women with one ejaculation.