Bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides even worse than previously thought

Save the bees
CC BY 2.0 Jon Sullivan

We've been writing for a while about the damage that neonicotinoid pesticides are doing to bee populations around the world, but according to the latest science, things might be even worse than we thought. A new assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) of three chemicals that are already banned in Europe, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, has found that they pose a ‘high risk’ to bees when sprayed on leaves.

Hopefully this data will help maintain the ban, which is being challenged by the UK's National Farmers Union. In fact, Greenpeace is hoping that the new data will help extend the ban to fruit orchards after blooming, and crops gown in greenhouses.

Dead beeLuca Biada/CC BY 2.0

“The commission should expand the EU-wide ban to cover all uses of neonicotinoids on all crops, and end the self-service approach to derogations. Viable non-chemical alternatives exist and the EU should encourage farmers to use them,” said Greenpeace's agriculture policy director, Marco Contiero.

“The evidence of harm is clear,” added Paul de Zylva, senior nature campaigner for Friends of the Earth. “Questions need to be asked about how these products were ever approved for use when they were not tested for their effects on different types of bees.”

Action is particularly pressing as more than 25% of European bumblebees, and nearly 10% of all honeybees, are at risk of extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list for bees.

Honeybee lossesWikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Via The Guardian

Tags: Bees | Pesticides | United Kingdom

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK

treehugger slideshows