Nature Canada
Photo by Sandy Nelson

European Union Neonic Ban to Protect Bees

The EU’s ban on neonicotinoid pesticides is set to come into force on December 19, 2018; giving bees and other critters a chance to thrive in the New Year.

The EU has adopted a near-total ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. The use of all three neonics across the EU has been restricted to non-flowering crops since 2013. The new ban would go further, completely prohibiting their use outdoors.

The ban is in response to a science review conducted by the European Food Safety Authority – Pesticides Unit, which concluded that the outdoor use of neonics harms bees. Exposure of both honeybees and wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees) to neonics was assessed via three routes: residues in bee pollen and nectar; dust drift during the sowing/application of the treated seeds; and water consumption.

The ban does not extended to all neonics or uses of neonics. Two neonics – sulfoxaflor and thiacloprid – are not covered by the ban. In addition, farmers may still use clothianidin, imiacloprid and thiamethoxam in greenhouses.

It is a step towards protecting bees and birds from the harmful impacts of neonics. It is time for Canada to follow suit!

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