France Bans Five Pesticides Linked To Death Of Bees
France has become the first country in Europe to take a step towards protecting the declining bee population. On Saturday, the country introduced a new law to ban neonicotinoid pesticides, a disputable group of neurotoxins which are responsible for the decline of bees and other crop pollinating bees.
The European Union currently bans three neonicotinoids in crop fields clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam, though France is a part of this memorandum, they have moved a step ahead and proceeded with the banning of the other two neonicotinoids thiacloprid and acetamiprid. The usage of these pesticides is banned not only outdoors, but also in greenhouses.
This move has been appreciated by beekeepers and environmental activists but has been strongly opposed by cereal and sugar beet farmers who claim that there are no effective alternatives to protect their crops from insects.
Some environmentalists are of the view that the ban should not be restricted to this family of pesticides alone and many others need to be banned too to save the bees, as reported by AFP.
Neonicotinoid is a class of neurotoxins which are similar to nicotine. The development work on these neurotoxins started right from the 1980’s and is controversially linked to the honey bee colony collapse disorder. These pesticides are used by farmers to keep the pests away from their crops and are most widely used to treat flowering crops, including fruit trees, beets, wheat, canola and vineyards, however, they contribute in damaging the central nervous system of honey bees and other pollinating insects.
Several states in the United States have also restricted the use of these pesticides out of concern for pollinators and bees. Most of the corn planted in the United States in 2013 were treated with these pesticides.
Effect on honey bees
A study has proven that the usage of these pesticides is fatal to the bees in the wildlife as well. The reproduction of the bees is harmed by reducing the sperm quality and confuses the insects’ memory and navigation functions according to a report by AFP.
Research also shows that neonicotinoids are an addictive attraction for bees just like nicotine is addictive for humans. The United Nations warned that 40 per cent of the pollinators, especially bees and butterflies are facing the risk of global extinction.
What would happen if bees were extinct?
Bees are important species for pollination, they pollinate around 70 per cent of the crop species that feeds 90 per cent of the world. According to a BBC report, honey bees are responsible for $30 billion of crops in a year.
If bees are extinct from the planet, all the plants that bees pollinate would be lost resulting in a loss of all the animals who feed on these plants, ultimately affecting the food chain. This means that the world without bees would not sustain the world’s alarming population.