EU to restrict neonicotinoid pesticides

Mon, Apr 29, 2013

Climate Change, Bees

A vote in the EU has paved the way for the European Commission to restrict the use of pesticides linked to bee deaths in scientific studies.There is great concern across Europe about the collapse of bee populations.

Neonicotinoid chemicals in pesticides are believed to harm bees and the European Commission says they should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators. The exact meaning of this statement is yet to be clarified but it suggests that there will be stricter controls about their use.

After the vote, EU Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg, said “the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks”.

“I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over 22bn euros (£18.5bn; $29bn) annually to European agriculture, are protected.”

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said Monday’s vote “makes it crystal clear that there is overwhelming scientific, political and public support for a ban.

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What exactly are Neonicotinoids?

  • Nicotine is not just lethal to humans in the form of cigarettes, but the chemical is also extremely toxic to insects
  • Neonicotinoid pesticides are new nicotine-like chemicals and act on the nervous systems of insects, with a lower threat to mammals and the environment than many older sprays
  • Pesticides made in this way are water soluble, which means they can be applied to the soil and taken up by the whole plant – they are called “systemic”, meaning they turn the plant itself into a poison factory, with toxins coming from roots, leaves, stems and pollen
  • Neonicotinoids are often applied as seed treatments, which means coating the seeds before planting.

 

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- who has written 866 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and is keen to "manage" the effects of the weather on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and I hope that it will continue to grow, allowing global gardeners to communicate about the effects of climate change on our plants and the future of our gardens.

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