France will take the first radical step in Europe towards protecting its dwindling bee population by banning all five Bayer/Monsanto pesticides researchers believe are killing off the insects.
The move to ban the five so-called neonicotinoids has been hailed by beekeepers and environmentalists, but cereal and sugar beet farmers warn it could leave them all but defenseless in protecting valuable crops against ‘other’ harmful insects.
By enforcing the blanket ban, France is going further than the EU, which voted to outlaw the use of three neonicotinoids–clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, in crop fields starting on December 19.
France has banned these three, along with thiacloprid and acetamiprid, not only outdoors but in greenhouses too!
Initially opposed, Britain now backs the less comprehensive EU ban due to evidence supporting claims the chemicals contribute to “colony collapse disorder”, a mysterious phenomenon that has seen bee populations plummet by up to 90% in some cases.
Introduced in the mid-1990’s, synthetic neonicotinoids share the chemical structure of nicotine and attack the central nervous system of insects.
Intended to replace older, more harmful pesticides, they are now the most widely used to treat flowering crops, such as fruit trees, beets and vineyards.
While the ban was “a good thing, it won’t save us, predicting that as soon as they are withdrawn, they will be “replaced by other more harmful chemical agents”.
The United Nations warned last year that 40% of invertebrate pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction.
Telegraph UK / Crickey Conservation Society 2018.