Success! The European Commission has listened to the 2.2 million people who signed the Avaaz online petition and proposed that member states restrict the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides linked to the decline of bees.
The Commission will be asking EU countries to suspend the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam on sunflowers, rapeseed, cotton, maize and other crops which bees are attracted to. The proposals mean the chemicals could be banned from use on flowering crops in Europe as early as July.
European Commission health spokesman Frederic Vincent said: “We are requesting member states to suspend for two years the use of the pesticides on seeds, granulates and sprays for crops which attract bees. We hope the regulation can be adopted before March.”
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. The Commission wants restrictions in place by July and the measures will be reviewed after two years.
Luis Morago, from campaign group Avaaz , said: “This could mark a tipping point in our battle, 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!”
Friends of the Earth also believes this “hugely significant EU proposal” promises a first, important step on the road to turning around the decline of our bees. “The UK Government must throw its weight behind this,” it said. “The evidence linking neonicotinoids to declining bee populations is growing. We can’t afford to ignore the threat they pose to these crucial pollinators.”
Posted in Bees, Nature, Wildlife
Tagged Avaaz, campaigns, conservation, countryside, crops, Europe, European Commission, Friends of the Earth, pesticides, petitions
Avaaz has launched an online petition calling on the EU to immediately ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
The global advocacy organisation says: “Quietly, globally, billions of bees are dying, threatening our crops and food. But in 48 hours the European Union could move to ban the most poisonous pesticides, and pave the way to a global ban that would save bees from extinction.
“Four EU countries have begun banning these poisons, and some bee populations are already recovering. Days ago the official European food safety watchdog stated for the first time that certain pesticides are fatally harming bees.
“Now legal experts and European politicians are calling for an immediate ban. But, Bayer and other giant pesticide producers are lobbying hard to keep them on the market. If we build a huge swarm of public outrage now, we can push the European Commission to put our health and our environment before the profit of a few.
“We know our voices count! Last year, our 1.2 million strong petition forced US authorities to open a formal consultation on pesticides – now if we reach 2 million, we can persuade the EU to get rid of these crazy poisons and pave the way for a ban worldwide.
“Sign the urgent petition and share this with everyone – Avaaz and leading MEPs will deliver our message ahead of this week’s key meeting in Brussels.” Over 2 million have already signed the petition, Avaaz now hope to get 2.5 million.
The world’s most widely used insecticide has been officially labelled an “unacceptable” danger to bees feeding on flowering crops.
Bees and other pollinators are critical to one-third of all food but two major studies last year implicated neonicotinoid pesticides in the decline in the insects. Last April, the European Commission demanded a re-examination of the risks posed by the chemicals.
Scientists at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded on Wednesday that it is not acceptable to use three neonicotinoid insecticides on crops attractive to honey bees – including oilseed rape which is widely grown in the UK. They also found huge gaps in safety information and a lack of testing for the impact of the chemicals on other pollinating insects.
Friends of the Earth believe this is a major turning point in the battle to save our bees. The charity’s Executive Director, Andy Atkins, said: “The clear link between neonicotinoid pesticides and declining bee health must sting the Government into action. Ministers must urgently remove these dangerous chemicals from sale, overhaul inadequate pesticide safety tests and ensure farmers have access to safe, effective alternatives.”
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “This research will be examined by the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides and their advice will be considered by ministers. If it is concluded that restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids are necessary, they will be brought in.”
A quick update on the Bee Cause campaign. A total of 125 MPs showed their support for halting bee decline by posing with a giant cuddly bee and sign saying ‘Britain needs its bees’ at the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, Plaid Cymru and Scottish National Party politicians all backed the Friends of the Earth campaign, including the Tory MP for Lichfield, Michael Fabricant (below). They learnt that the amount of honey produced by UK bees fell by 72% in 2012 compared with the previous year.
The campaign is calling for a National Bee Action Plan to tackle the major threats facing British bees and you can give your support by signing an online petition.
Friends of the Earth’s Nature Campaigner, Paul de Zylva, said: “It’s a very welcome first step to see so many MPs recognise the importance of bees to our farmers, food prices and countryside. But they must now act urgently to halt bee decline. The effect of letting bees go the same way as ash trees would be catastrophic.”
Hazard Hot Sheet
Guest post on a serious problem:
| January 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Tags: Agriculture
, Honey bee
| Categories: Bee
, Hive Equipment
| URL: http://wp.me/p29QRg-1L6
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I Love Bees
Bees are one of nature’s most prolific pollinators. It is estimated that a single bee, at the peak of its performance, can visit literally thousands of wild and cultivated flowers across an area spanning hundreds of miles. Bees are known for enhancing crop production as well as producing one of nature’s finest food products: honey.
Bees don’t just produce honey, though – they also produce royal jelly (an energy-rich substance naturally produced by bees which is added to food supplements to enhance physical performance and maintain wellness).
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There is growing evidence that common pesticides are playing a significant part in the recent decline of bees all over the world.
It is a worrying trend because bees are the most important pollinators of many wild flowers and agricultural crops. Disease may be causing some colonies to collapse, but recent studies have shown that chemicals in pesticides known as neonicotinoid, commonly sprayed on crops, are also harming bees.
This is backed up by a new study at Royal Holloway, University of London, which looked at the impact of multiple pesticides on bees. The results, published in Nature, showed that exposure to low levels of multiple pesticides had subtle yet significant effects on the behaviour of bees and the performance of colonies. Bees exposed to two pesticides performed worse than those exposed to one, proving much less effective in bringing back pollen.
The study concluded that long-term exposure to low levels of multiple pesticides This suggests that current methods of regulating pesticides are inadequate because they only consider lethal doses of single pesticides.
You can support the Bee Cause campaign by signing an online petition, which calls on the Government to suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Common Pesticides Are Severely Affecting Bees | SciTech Daily.
There was good news for the Bee Cause campaign this week. A powerful group of MPs is to investigate the impact of pesticides on bees. The move follows mounting evidence about the harmful effect of neonicotinoids, including a recent report by Friends of the Earth.
The Environmental Audit Committee will quiz Ministers about why the UK has failed to join other European countries, such as France and Italy, in suspending use of neonicotinoid pesticides. The influential committee will also look at the effect of pesticides on human health and address broader issues, such as whether the Government should encourage alternatives to pesticides.
You can support the Bee Cause campaign by signing an online petition, which calls on David Cameron to introduce a National Bee Action Plan, including the suspension of neonicotinoid pesticides.