News / Science & Technology

EU Hopes Pesticide Ban Will Halt Bee Decline

The European Union hopes a two-year ban on three of the world’s most widely-used agricultural pesticides can reverse the decline in bees and other pollinators. (Photo: Adam Vanbergen)
The European Union hopes a two-year ban on three of the world’s most widely-used agricultural pesticides can reverse the decline in bees and other pollinators. (Photo: Adam Vanbergen)
Rosanne Skirble
The European Union has decided to impose a two-year ban on three of the world’s most widely-used agricultural pesticides.

The move follows a report in early April from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that the three pesticides pose an acute risk to honey bees, which are vital to food production.  
 
The targeted farm chemicals, which will be banned for two years starting this December 1, belong to a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids. They are a type of insect nerve agent that has been widely used for more than a decade.

Although the chemicals’ manufacturers say field tests have shown the pesticides pose no threat to bees, a recent British honeybee field study found evidence to the contrary, and that was enough to convince 15 of 27 EU member governments, and the executive European Commission, to support a ban.  

EU Hopes Pesticide Ban Will Halt Bee Decline
EU Hopes Pesticide Ban Will Halt Bee Declinei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Adam Vanbergen, an ecologist with the Center for Ecology and Hydrology in Britain, says some of the evidence against neonicotinoids is debatable, but much of it is troubling.

“There were abundant laboratory studies that were showing some worrying signs," he said. "It’s sad to say that the evidence wasn’t as strong in the field. But then it is much more complicated to demonstrate cause and effect in field situations.”  

Vanbergen says that in the absence of any systematic monitoring, it will be hard to determine the impact of the ban and whether it can reverse the decline in pollinator populations.  

He directed a study, released last week by the Insect Pollinators Initiative of the United Kingdom, that compiled years of research on threats to pollinating insects. It found that a variety of factors is responsible for the decline, including pesticides, habitat loss, climate change, spread of disease and alien species.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
“My concern about the neonicotinoid issue is that to an extent it may distract attention from the bigger picture," Vanbergen said. "We really do need to try and manage our landscapes much more sympathically towards biodiversity. And pesticides are a part of that without question. But I’m a little bit worried that people may go away thinking that moratoriums such as this are going to solve the issue.”  

Vanbergen hopes the EU moves forward with new research on how farmers can employ pest control techniques less reliant on toxic chemicals.  

"But also we should be exploring alternatives to better manage pests in agricultural systems and that may well include integrated pest management strategies," he said, "where pesticides are a sort of judicious last resort to outbreaks of pests, and they are not used in a sort of prophylactic way.”

Vanbergen adds that the fate of the bees and other threatened insect pollinators, such as butterflies, wasps, flies and beetles, is a matter of food security, not only in Europe, but around the world.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Spiro from: USA
May 11, 2013 8:09 AM
I understand the problem maybe caused by multiple factors but the easiest ones to eliminate are the ones we created like the neonicotinoid group of pesticides. So lets start there.


by: Don Sampson from: Galena, OH
May 02, 2013 9:11 PM
I live in the suburbs north of Columbus, OH and I have noticed a distinct decrease in the number of bees in our area. Our street is lined with flowering trees and not a bee to be found. 20 years ago trees such as these would be abuzz with many types of bees - it's like The Silent Spring of the bee world.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid