In May 2018 the EU banned three of the significant pesticides implicated in the collapse of bee populations. Clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam are now prohibited for use on crops.
However France has gone a step further and set the high bar in the effort to save the bees. Given the importance of pollinators to nature and the survival of the biosphere, this could not happen too soon!
Studies have reported that the neonicotinoid pesticides attack the central nervous system of insects, leading to loss of memory and homing skills, in addition to reduced fertility. Bees that cannot find their way back to the hive quickly die. However the pesticides have also been shown to affect butterflies, birds and other pollinating insects.
There is a reason why France is ahead of the field in this regard: The “bee killing” pesticides were tested first on French fields in the 1990’s – and the French farmers witnessed first-hand the catastrophic effects that occurred in 1994; describing “a carpet of dead bees”. 400,000 bee colonies died within days – yet the story was buried under a layer of corruption and distorted science.
Since that time, activists and manufacturers have battled to control the situation.
The new move is certain to be celebrated by ecologists and sets an example of protection of nature that the rest of the world needs to follow.