A restriction on the use of three pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid family was adopted on May 24 2013 by the European Commission.
These pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) were identified as being harmful to Europe’s honeybee population, the Commission said. This restriction will enter into force as from December 1 2013 and will be reviewed, at the latest, within two years. It targets pesticides used in the treatment of plants and cereals that are attractive to bees and pollinators.
“Last month, I pledged that, based on the number of risks identified by the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific opinion, I would do my utmost to ensure that our honeybee population is protected. Today’s adoption delivers on that pledge and marks another milestone towards ensuring a healthier future for our honeybees, as bees have two important roles to play: not only that of producing honey but primarily to be a pollinator. About 80 per cent of all pollination is due to the activity of bees – this is natural and free of costs” said Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy.
The step approved on May 24 forms part of the Commission’s overall strategy to tackle the decline of Europe’s bee population, the Commission said. Since the publication of the Commission’s bee health strategy in 2010, several actions have been taken or are underway. These include the designation of a EU Reference Laboratory for bee health, increased EU co-financing for national apiculture programmes, co-financing to carry out surveillance studies in 17 voluntary member states (3.3 million euro were allocated in 2012) and EU research programmes such as BeeDoc and STEP which look into the multifactorial aspects that could be attributed to Europe’s bee decline.
EU countries must withdraw or amend existing authorisations to comply with the EU restrictions by September 30 2013. They can allow the use of existing stocks until November 30 at the latest. National authorities are responsible for ensuring that the restrictions are correctly applied.
As soon as new information is available, and at the latest within two years, the Commission will review this restriction to take into account relevant scientific and technical developments, the EC said.
(Photo: Nate Brelsford)