Published: Sat, April 28, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

European Union Bans Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticides

European Union Bans Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Darryl Cox, senior science and policy officer for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: "Neonicotinoid pesticides are really good at doing what they are created to do, they are applied to seeds, spread throughout the tissues of an entire plant, and kill off any pests which try to eat it".

Defra said the value of the UK's 1,500 species of pollinators to crops had been estimated at £400-680m per year due to improved productivity.

The restriction applies to pesticides known as neonicotinoids, which are: clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam.

Bees and other pollinating insects are vital to our survival as they pollinate roughly three quarters of the world's food crops - including coffee and chocolate.

The E.U.'s decision was influenced in part by a report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), published this February, which concluded that neonicotinoids were harmful to both wild bees and honey bees. The reason for the ban was the mass death of bees gathering nectar from plants whose seeds were treated with pesticides.

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Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for Health and Food Safety, welcomed Friday's vote: "The commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from Efsa". Nearly 5 million people have signed a petition from campaign group Avaaz supporting the ban.

"Finally, our governments are listening to their citizens, the scientific evidence and farmers who know that bees can't live with these chemicals and we can't live without bees". The research found that the type of application of the pesticides didn't matter-any outdoor use was found to pose a threat to honeybee colony survival. A recent, study revealed that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany in the past 25 years - with the exact causes of this ecological Armageddon being unclear.

Campaign group Friends of the Earth described the decision of European Union governments as a "tremendous victory" for bees and for the environment. "We've seen a brilliant response from consumers since we made this announcement - people really seem to understand just how important it is to support bees in their nature habitat".

He said: "What is needed is a move towards truly sustainable farming methods that minimise pesticide use, encourage natural enemies of crop pests, and support biodiversity and healthy soil".

Further study is required to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of these alternatives compared with the restricted insecticides, the JRC stated.

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