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article imagePesticide use in Europe is harming the bees

By Tim Sandle     Apr 15, 2015 in Environment
Brussels - Some European governments have claimed that neonicotinoid pesticides are not harming bees or other wildlife. This has been challenged by Europe's 29 academies of sciences who are arguing just the opposite.
The scientists claim that a common class of pesticides, called neonicotinoids, are affecting bee populations around the world. Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine.
These insecticides are designed to control aphids. They work by affecting the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death. Bees are very important to the global economy and over 75 percent of the crops around the world are freely pollenated by insects. The value of this is worth up to $165 billion per year, according to The Daily Telegraph.
These views are not held by all European nations. The British government, for example, has declared the chemicals safe for use. Not all U.K. scientists support this position. For example, University of Sussex’s Dave Goulson has refuted the data presented by the U.K. government and argues instead that such chemicals harm bees. Other European countries, such as Germany, Italy, France and Slovenia, have instigated bans.
Following a review of over 100 peer-reviewed studies into the pesticides, the European Academies Science Advisory Council has concluded: “there is an increasing body of evidence” that the use of such insecticides “has severe negative effects” on bees. Furthermore, the report concludes that such chemicals may actually make pest outbreaks worse.
This supports previous work which showed that bumble bees exposed to a neonicotinoid produced fewer queens and that honey bees exposed to the pesticide had trouble finding their way back to the hive. Thus the over-exposure to the pesticides poses a major problem and could cause the collapse of entire colonies.
These types of pesticides have been restricted in other parts of the world, such as in Ontario, where a ban was put in place following a public poll.
In related news, Digital Journal earlier reported that neonicotinoids might be responsible for observed declines in bird populations.
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