Pesticides known as ‘neonicotinoids’ are devastating for bee populations. And the European Union is ready to ban three of them, according to The Guardian.
Over the past five years, scientists across European universities have been studying the impacts of pesticides on bees. They’ve concluded that nothing but a complete ban will help these important creatures.
Sussex University found that impacts on bees go well beyond the boundaries of treated crops. Wildflowers nearby are contaminated with doses high enough to confuse the bees when foraging – but not enough to kill them instantly. Results like this have shifted opinions.
However, the ban in mainland Europe may not be enough to protect the honey bee in the UK. Since 1985 there’s been a 53 per cent decline in the number of managed honey bee colonies in Britain. Part of this has been a result of intensive farming – including the numerous impacts from pesticides – as well as the loss of 97 per cent of the UK’s wildflower meadows since 1935.
The affects go far beyond the loss of bee hives. Pollination services – the value of the production of honey together with the value of pollinating crops – is thought to contribute at least £510 million to the UK economy each year, according to London Economic.
With Article 50 signed and sealed, we have no idea whether the UK Government will go with the EU on a total ban on the three key bee-harming pesticides. So it’s down to the rest of us to persuade our leaders that bees matter and that spraying crops with harmful substances for all insect species is a crisis that can be reversed. A Rocha UK is encouraging supporters to write to their MP and demand a full ban.
It’s time to reverse the trends and bring back our bees. (Photo: Clive Price)