Danger of commonly used pesticides for bees are known, but the ban will probably not (yet)

It seems there’s less and less on that next week voting on a ban on neonicotinoid. However, it appears from examination of Europe itself that the pesticides huge damage to bees and other pollinators. Beekeepers and scientists also point to the negative consequences for the rest of the food chain and the environment.

A ban on neonicotinoid is really urgent, emphasize the scientists, beekeepers and environmental organisations. Pollinators are vital for many agricultural crops. © Getty Images/iStockphoto

In 2013 all came the European food safety agency (EFSA) concluded that three types of neonicotinoid ‘an acute risk to honey bees’ types. Then suggested Europe prompt a temporary ban on the use of the substances on flowering crops.

In the meantime, the EFSA re-asked for the matter to investigate, and last month presented the agency with its conclusions. After analysis of more than seven hundred studies conclusion the agency that both imidacloprid, clothianidine as amending a large hazard for honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees.

In addition, the agency, the limitations of the EU in 2013 set up is inadequate to the risks to avoid. Almost everyone went out that a ban was inevitable. The European commission has adopted such a ban also proposed, with the exception of crops in closed greenhouses.

No vote?

But in the agenda for the next consultation between the member states, on 22 and 23 march, is just the ‘discussion of the EFSA report’ feature, and there is no question of a vote. That seems to indicate that, in the member states is still insufficient support for a ban.


‘The pesticidenverbruik increases and the substances are becoming stronger’

However, is such a ban really urgent, emphasize the scientists, beekeepers and environmental organisations. Delay would mean that pollinators like bees, bumblebees and other insects will again be a year long, severe damage can add up. And that pollinators are crucial to many agricultural crops.

Seeds with coating

‘The pesticidenverbruik increases and the substances are getting more powerful,” says Jean-Marc Bonmatin of the National Centre for Scientific Research in France. “There is no longer just sprayed as an insect infestation, but preventive. For they lead further into the ground, seeds are now coated like an M&M, but with a layer of insecticide.’

As many as 80 percent of the substances remain behind in the soil, but it is water soluble and is thus also in surface waters. “It is important to realize that the conclusions of the EFSA based on the effect on bees. There are still many more reasons to the substances to fend off, as the consequences for watercourses, and the effects further in the food chain for birds and fish.’


“We beekeepers discovered the next as the first – although more and more it appears that the producers of the substances has been long know of had,” says Walter Haefeker European Professional Beekeepers Association. “But when we alarm beat, were initially all sorts of other arguments are searched for the demise of the bees: we would make mistakes, or it came all through the winter. New studies also a decline in solitary bees found.’


“There was a disaster the need for understanding’

Then in 2008, once again, a massive bee mortality was assessed after the introduction of coated corn, could the link with neonicotinoid no longer be denied. “There was a disaster the need for understanding’, says Haefeker. “When started, some member states have their own restrictions.’

Enough alternatives

However, there are scientists and organizations a lot of alternatives. ‘Research into the use of pesticides yielded surprising results,” said Bonmatin. ‘As it turned out the crop without pesticides virtually the same. Also we saw that very quickly resistance occurs from the products, already after two to four years. So, there more and more or stronger and stronger products to be sprayed.’

Farmers were pesticides again, as a remedy for any problems should see, says the scientist, and not as a prophylactic. This may be better with alternative methods, such as biological control.

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