Wednesday, March 23, 2016

France Moves Forward to Save Bees

More: Researchers at the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture have confirmed for the first time in the US that neonicotinoids are toxic to honeybees even when used as directed. The finding comes in an award of compensation to two beekeepers under a landmark 2014 state law. The beekeepers' hives were severely damaged when a neighbor planted his corn coated with neonicotinoid pesticide and the drift of pesticide reached the hives. Tests at an affected organic farm showed that within two days of the corn planting, dead bees carried acute levels of toxin. Nearby dandelions also tested significantly higher concentrations of the pesticide. Clothianidin coated corn seed is routinely used by American farmers to protect seedlings in the ground. As the corn grows the entire plant becomes infused with the pesticide. EPA's review of clothianidin is expected to be completed later this year; chemical giant Bayer has disputed the EPA findings on clothianidin as well as other international studies showing this class of compounds has both lethal and sub-lethal effects on bee colonies. Bayer's products are used word-wide.

{21.03.16}French legislators have approved plans to permanently ban neonicotinoid pesticides amid fierce debate between farmers, chemical companies, beekeepers and environmentalists. The ban goes beyond the moratorium imposed by the EU when scientific evidence showed the pesticide is harming bees, an irreplaceable pollinator of man's crops. France's National Assembly approved a total ban late Thursday on a narrow vote supported by the current government. Previously the Senate rejected such a ban.  If finally adopted in July, the law would not go into effect until September 1, 2018. The delay could be used to develop substitute pesticides and perform more research on bees to definitively determine what factors, natural and man-made, are cause their precipitous decline. Agricultural interests say the ban could put French farmers at a disadvantage to farmers in other parts of the EU.  France is the Union's largest agricultural producer.