Insecticides and Bees

4 May

For some time now, perhaps beginning in 2006, there has been a concern around the world about a problem with bees. Known as Colony Collapse Syndrome, population of bee colonies are on a decline. The official statement from USDA is:

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a serious problem threatening the health of honey bees and the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States. Despite a number of claims in the general and scientific media, a cause or causes of CCD have not been identified by researchers.

There are others who think that pesticides and even genetically modified farm crops are the cause. Pesticides are by design not good for insects. A specific pesticide known as neonicotinoids is widely in use in the US and considered the front runner as the major cause of CCD.

The European Commission had been working toward a ban on the use of neonicotinoids, against protest from the chemical companies. In April of 2013, the EU decided to implement a continent wide ban on the use of neonicotinoids. Even though the member vote (15 for ban, 12 against) was not the wider majority usually required, the decision was passed to the European Commission, who decided to go forward with the ban.

Within the US this week, a plan for no action was taken.  A report, by the Department of Agriculture and the EPA, blamed a list of possible factors for the cause of CCD. Even though pesticides, in particular neonicotinoids could be the cause, they felt that more studies were in order.

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