Save the Honey Bees: EU Will Completely Ban World’s Most Common Pesticides

A colony of Italian honeybees are pictured in a hive in New York City. Chris Hondros/Getty Images

By Janissa Delzo

28 April 2018

The European Union plans to help save the bees by banning the world’s most commonly used pesticides from all fields.

There’s already a ban in place dating back to 2013 restricting the use of other harmful pesticides, but the member nations voted to expand those restrictions. Three major neonicotinoids—clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam—will now no longer be allowed to be used anywhere, except for in greenhouses.

The new ban will be enforced by the end of 2018, The Guardian reports. Friday’s vote came after a major report from the EU, which was published in February, that stated both honey bees and wild bees are put in great harm when chemicals are used on crops. The assessment, which included a survey of 1,500 studies, found that three neonics that were partially banned left a toxic layer on crops and left honey bees at “high risk.”

Another study from November 2017 revealed neonicotinoids contaminate honey samples around the globe.

“The commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from Efsa. Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment,” Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety told The Guardian.

Some groups, including sugar-beet growers have argued the ban could affect their ability to produce crops such as wheat and sugar beet, Bloomberg reports. But a majority of the public have applauded 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,” Antonia Staats, of the online activist network Avaaz who created a petition to save the bees, told the Guardian.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency continues to assess the risk of neonicotinoid pesticides. Public comment on the findings are expected to open up later this year, according to the agency’s website.


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