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article imageNew campaign to save bees from pesticides

By Tim Sandle     May 25, 2015 in Environment
In 2013 neonicotinoid pesticides were temporarily banned in Europe due to a 'high acute risk' to honey bees. An environmental organization wishes the matter to be extended to a complete ban.
That neonicotinoids can cause harm to bees is clearly stated in a report by Europe's 29 academies of sciences. Neonicotinoids are neuro-active insecticides similar in chemical structure to nicotine. It may also be that bees are not the only form of wildlife affected. Digital Journal has reported that neonicotinoids could be the cause of a loss in bird populations.
The loss of bees worldwide has been puzzling scientists. Bees pollinate over one-third of food crops and their loss is set to cause ecological problems and will impact on the availability of food. Reasons for a decline in bees include mite infestation, loss of habitat and the use of pesticides.
The current Europe-wide control of neonicotinoids is set to be discussed by European governments later in 2015. Across Europe, different interest groups have been mounting a challenge to prevent any ban from being put in place. This includes farmers and chemical companies. For example, in the U.K. the National Farmers Union (NFU) is seeking an exemption from the ban in order to have rape seeds coated with neonicotinoid chemicals.
In a statement, the NFU says: "Establishing the crop has become far more difficult and expensive, if not impossible, without neonicotinoid seed dressing. Because of this we want the authorities to allow farmers to use the seed treatments they need to make growing oilseed rape viable."
In opposition, environmental groups like Friends of the Earth are seeking to have a full ban of neonicotinoid chemicals upheld. The environmental group has launched a petition to this effect. The petition is aimed at Liz Truss, M.P., the Conservative Party Secretary of State for the Environment.
In related news, the U.S. branch of Friends of the Earth reports on a successful campaign to stop some major retailers from selling neonicotinoid pesticides. Here big players Home Depot and Lowe’s have stopped supplying such products. However, the campaign group notes that at the next tier down, Ace Hardware and True Value sell the “bee-killing chemicals.” A separate petition has been opened in an attempt to stop these retailers from stocking the pesticides.
More about Bees, Pesticides, Honeybee, Bumblebee, neonicotinoids
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