Insecticides linked to serious harm in bees could be banned from use on flowering crops in Europe as early as July, under proposals set out by the European commission on Thursday, branded “hugely significant” by environmentalists. The move marks remarkably rapid action after evidence has mounted in recent months that the pesticides are contributing to the decline in insects that pollinate a third of all food.

Three neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticides, which earn billions of pounds a year for their manufacturers, would be forbidden from use on corn, oil seed rape, sunflowers and other crops across the continent for two years.

It was time for “swift and decisive action”, said Tonio Borg, commissioner for health and consumer policy, who added that the proposals were “ambitious but proportionate”.

The proposals will enter EU law on 25 February if a majority of Europe’s member states vote in favour. France and the Netherlands are supportive but the UK and Germany are reported to be reluctant…

Luis Morago, at campaign group Avaaz which took an anti-neonicotinoid petition of 2.2m signatures to Brussels, said: “This is the first time that the EU has recognised that the demise of bees has a perpetrator: pesticides. The suspension could mark a tipping point in the battle to stop the chemical armageddon for bees, but it does not go far enough. Over 2.2 million people want the European commission to face-down spurious German and British opposition and push for comprehensive ban of neonicotinoid pesticides.”

Keith Taylor, Green party MEP for South East England MEP, said: “For too long the threat to bees from neonicotinoids has been dismissed, minimised or ignored. It is, therefore, good to see the European commission finally waking up. Bees have enormous economic value as pollinators and are vital to farmers. Let us hope that we’re not too late in halting the dramatic decline in their population…”

On 16 January, the European Food Safety Authority, official advisers to the EC, labelled the three neonicotinoids an unacceptable danger to bees feeding on flowering crops and this prompted the proposal produced on Thursday. If approved by experts from member states on 25 February, it would suspend the use imidacloprid and clothianidin, made by Bayer, and thiamethoxam, made by Syngenta, on crops that attract bees. Winter cereals would be excluded, because bees are not active at that time, and the suspension would be reviewed after two years. The European commission is also considering banning gardeners from using these neonicotinoids, although B&Q, Homebase and Wickes have already withdrawn such products from their garden centres in the UK.

EPA has continued to approve more than 100 neonicotinoid products for unrestricted use on dozens of crops, including the vast majority of corn seed planted in North America, cotton, soybeans and dozens of other crops covering an estimated 200 million total acres.

They say they’ll be ready to consider a new review – in 2018.



  1. Anonymous Coward says:

    Every so often, the EU actually manages to do the right thing. It’s a broken analogue clock is correct twice a day thing.

    The EPA, on the other hand, is still effing up everything it touches with Douche Bag Pride.

  2. Ah_Yea says:

    I found this interesting in another article.
    “In a 2013 formal peer review the European Food Safety Authority stated that recent studies show that neonicotinoid pesticides, some of the most widely-used pesticides in the world, pose an unacceptably high risk to bees, and that the industry-sponsored science upon which regulatory agencies’ claims of safety have relied is flawed and possibly deliberately deceptive”

    – possibly deliberately deceptive –

    The EPA at it’s best.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder

  3. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    My friend is a bee keeper. He’s not convinced as bees (like hoomans) are under many environmental stessors. About every 6 months you can find another main reason for bee colony collapse all over the world. It would be a pitty to ban pesticides if the real reason was mold? or bacteria or virus or simple fatigue? Not that banning OVER USE of pesticides is not a good idea. But simple rules are the only ones that can possibly be enforced.

    I think I saw an article about the Pear crop in China? No bees there so they do it by human effort. Makes for expensive pears.

    • ± says:

      I was a hobbiest beekeeper for 16 years. And good at it. I often got over 100 pounds of honey per hive. At Philadelphia PA latitude. Will start this up again soon.

      Big companies like Monsanto cleverly on subtle levels (they are getting real good at it, and no, sorry, I can’t prove it) promulgate the putative mystery behind colony collapse when in fact, it is just their insecticides killing insects. Period. The end. Don’t tell me you haven’t acquired the appropriate cynicism to appreciate that big evil Monsanto et al will do all they can to misdirect the investigation.

      • bobbo, one Real Liberal making Obama a Moderate Conservative by comparison says:

        Thanks P/M…I don’t trust a man who doesn’t have/had hobbies and bee keeping is a good one.

        I do think pesticides can’t be “good” for the environment. Something in my latin class about “cide” and the fact that most people I meet I find to be pesty.

        Its sad. Friend gives me several gallons of different sourced bee honey (alfalfa, eucalyptus etc) every year and I find the taste a bit overpowering for most things I would use it in. Rather go with brown sugar most of the time.

        My friend suspects ALL the stessors acting together but along with all his bee buddies including the Professors on the Subject at UC Davis, have no consensus on the issue. Prone to happen when an issue is complex and people are being honest.

        What might be the bigger threat to food in our future? Bee collapse, pesticides, or mono cultures===or just plain and simple Monsanto or Arhcer Daniels … etc?

        How many jobs would be created if pesticides, additives, and so forth were not allowed in our foods?

        Lots of social reasons why/how society controls what otherwise appears to be individual choices.

        I did have an ant farm once.

        • The Monster's Lawyer says:

          I had an ant farm too. They’re too hard to milk.

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

            Thats why the cheese is so expensive.

    • Buzz says:

      As humans become more analytical, we are going through a dangerous stage where we THINK we understand how nature works. The life of bees, like climate, is complex.

      Let’s hope the “logical” actions we take aren’t premature and detrimental.

    • Bill says:

      These agribusiness cannot be trusted no problem funding a study to figure out how much money they’re going to lose but the field study’s they conducted for the effects neonicotinoids have on bees were a joke. Plant a couple of acres of canola plants treated with neonicotinoids place a couple of hives in the area and 90 days later tell us the bees are fine, While 98% of the honeybees were probably working the clover nearby. That is UN acceptable.

  4. RS says:

    A short term ban over a relatively wide area is a good idea, these neonicotinoids, unlike DDT are not persistent in the environment.

    If the bees fail to recover, it’s not the pesticide.

    • bobbo, a real environmentalist who can't go on a diet for fear all the poisons will come out of my fat says:

      Most relevant comment on an issue in weeks. Now to look up how long “not persistent” is. So….50 or 90 or 99% of it flushes out of the fields and into the ocean and ground water in how many years?

    • dusanmal says:

      Ah, but Monsanto GM’s these into the GMO plants… And contrary to the public belief, this does not reduce pesticide use on those crops – it allows more than usual use of them (in addition to what is needed for non-GM crops and in addition to the pesticide in the GMO crops).

  5. Dallas says:

    Thanks goodness for tree hugging commies at environmental protection organizations worldwide. This is a good thing, albeit a late one.

  6. Cleveland Guy says:

    Good test case. **If** the bee population in Europe increases then the United States should follow. If there is **no change** in the bee population then the European Food Safety Authority is shown to be controlled by fools.

    • Jess Hurchist says:

      I don’t see it as foolish to make the best decision on the available evidence then change the decision when the evidence changes.
      It’s a science thing.

  7. noname says:

    The only problem with Monsanto GM, genetically modify round-up resistant lifeforms, is they haven’t made a Bee round-up resistant!

    Insecticides & GM are like guns, we don’t have enough! We need DDT to eliminate malaria!

    The Supreme Court must to allow corporations to profitably GM everything! Our economy needs more corporate profits (not that they would pay more taxes; GE Pays No Taxes)!

    Only then, can the unemployment rate drop! Monsanto can GM people to also make them round-up resistant!

    The country and the world desperately need more of this good-old republican win-win thinking!

    • dusanmal says:

      Another needless gun reference: please cite the part of Constitution guaranteeing the right to use pesticides. There are very few rights spelled there. Only the ones needed for free existence of the people. Life, liberty, not to be dictated choices by the state, freedom to express, freedom to worship or not and, yes freedom to arm and protect self and those other rights from right grabbers.
      Now to the right grabbers: pesticide control is Constitutionally NOT in the hands of Federal Government. That same Constitution spells few, limited duties of Federal Government and specifically bans it from meddling into other issues. States are the ones who have right, if they see fit to regulate pesticides and/or environment. One state can do it one way, as it suits its people, another differently – as those other people with other needs, wants and resources prefer. That is “Republican” win-win thinking.

      • bobbo, neutering gun nuts with their own lack of ammunition says:

        Swooooosh………………………..doppler sound effect trailing off in the distance…….

        • noname says:

          “Swooooosh” the sound of yet another of many bobbo brain farts!

          You start: “please cite the part of Constitution guaranteeing the right to use pesticides” Then go on into saying:
          “Specifically bans it from meddling into other issues.” You don’t cite the relevant specifics here!

          Then you go into your antebellum win-win thinking “States are the ones who have right”

          Bottom line, Bees could care less about your blathering. What they do seem to care about is the effects of pesticides on their population.

          If you think Bees are not worth protection, then you don’t think Farmers are worth the help Bees give them!

          And yes, GUNs are substitutes for people with a neutered masculinity go to develop their male self-image!

          Swoosh!

          • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

            Dunce Animal – – – I believe this swoosh is for you.

            Darn! Always making the error of thinking other people do.

            noname: make my weekend complete. Tell me you were totally serious in your op and not being sarcastic at all? If not, then why did you jump tracks?

            or not.

          • noname says:

            Bobbo,

            “Insecticides & GM are like guns, we don’t have enough!” is me dripping with sarcasm!

            And I didn’t switch, only changed-up the pitch!

          • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

            noname–so we agree that you were being “obviously” sarcastic and douche animal is too far right to pick up on what is obvious to the rest of it.

            So….if someone agreeing with YOU is evidencing a brain fart…. what does that make you?

            Might call for a swoosh and a wipe?

          • noname says:

            Bobbo,

            Contrary to your reading comprehension, I wasn’t auguring with myself.

            But, if ever I do argue with myself, I most definitely win! And as the winner, I am a maniacal genius!:)

  8. Glenn E. says:

    The pesticides produced are like the drugs use in medicine. They’re only tested on how effective they are, and what possible side effects they might have on humans. But beyond that, screw the bees. When it comes to pesticides. Dow Chemical, DuPont, and Monsanto, are only interested in crop protection. After the pollenization. Not in Bee health, before it. One or more of these corporations is probably working on a way to spray some artificial pollen product, they’re making. So the bees would be needed. But of course, that’ll cost, big time.

    • msbpodcast says:

      The chemical corporations don’t make any profit on bees, so its not even a consideration.

      If its not making the corporations a profit somewhere on some line item, the accountants will claim it doesn’t exist.

      Bees also tend to react like the real-estate market when you try to get too much money from it, and their population crashes.

  9. msbpodcast says:

    First thing that came into my mind was: The Science Is In!!!.

    However, performing a quick back of the envelope cost-benefit analysis for the alternatives to making a choice between stopping the apiacide or preserving corporate profits for a few insecticide companies and having to pollinate all our food by hand while we lose all of our bee-pollinated non-food plants as well.

    That reveals that we’d have to be total suicidal dick-heads to opt for the latter.

    Sometimes, the science may not be perfectly in, but the alternative to endless debate and doing nothing is unacceptable.

    Do something, anything, everything, (in parallel*,) and monitor constantly to see in what direction the situations are evolving. Pick from the best alternative.

    That’s the scientific method: Try everything you can think of and pick the alternative that showing evidence of being the best suited for the desired outcome.

    That’s why I get so pissed off with climate deniers sometimes.

    They bitch but they don’t come up with anything testable.

    That’s not even alternative science, that just obstructionism.

    Meanwhile the people in Beijing have days when they can’t go outside because of the particulate shit they put in the air, and that is some localized anthropogenic warming.

  10. Mr Diesel says:

    Eideard, What I want to know is where can I get a copy of the water color pic you used for this article. My late Mother-in-law painted like that and I want to add it to our collection.

    thx

    • bobbo, neutering gun nuts with their own lack of ammunition says:

      Hey Diesel–that flower doesn’t look like a vagina to me so…. who cares?

      But==have you ever used google “image search” to find photo sources? Works really well. Not the word search and then look for images but past the image jpg into the search bar.

      In this case though, all you have to do is right click on the OP Image and use “copy image location.”

      • Mr Diesel says:

        Being a moderator on another large website you would think I would do my own work…….

        Thx to both of you for posting.

        Now all I have to do is track down the artist.

        Bobbo, Never post another squid picture, EVER.

  11. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Talk about mean vajayjays though:

    http://tolweb.org/onlinecontributors/app?service=external/ViewImageData&sp=4738

  12. deowll says:

    Good for them. If it actually works we may need to consider it but if it fails then we shouldn’t be stupid and do what they did.

  13. MikeN says:

    Ban or heavily restrict cell phone use just in case. If bees collapse, civilization collapses.