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Neonicotinoids and Bees

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Much has been written, claimed and disputed regarding the impact (or otherwise) of three neonicotinoids – imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin – on bees. It seems that everyone has an opinion and everyone draws their own conclusions from the evidence. Others seem to ignore experimental data in order to make an ?anti-pesticide' stand. To those not directly involved in the work the situation is very confusing. A proposal from the European Commission for a partial ban on some insecticides in order to protect bees has failed in part because of the vote by the German government. Germany had abstained, so that the proposal was neither rejected nor approved. The German beekeepers' association has strongly criticized Germany's agricultural ministry. EU health commissioner Tonio Borg wants to ban the use of three neonicotinoids in maize, sunflower, rape and cotton growing for at least two years. Their use in winter cereal and plants that do not attract bees is to continue for the moment. The European Commission will review the measures after two years. Both Germany and the UK are reported to have abstained. Germany's agriculture ministry said the high level of protection for bees in Germany would be undermined if the European Commission's proposal was implemented. The German beekeeper's association on the other hand said the Commission's planned partial ban was considerably better than current bee protection in Germany. So we have the situation where there is a desire from the EU to restrict the use of neonicotinoids in certain situations, but a failure of the ministers to approve such a restriction. The article by Peter Campbell suggests that the recommendations made were based on faulty data and poor interpretation. But this is clearly not the end of the issue.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2013-04-01

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