France Bans Bee Killing Pesticides
The bee population around the world has been dwindling for some time. In some parts of Europe, the bee population has diminished by as much as 90 percent. Scientists have observed what they refer to as "colony collapse". When this occurs, all the bees in a geographic area begin to die off rapidly.
One of the culprits that scientists have pinpointed as being responsible for the collapse of the bee populations is a pesticide class called neonicotinoids. Pesticides within this group are used extensively in the agricultural industry. Scientists have urged that this type of pesticide be banned from all use in order to save the bees.
France has heeded the scientists call, and France will become the first nation in the world to ban all five pesticides in the neonicotinoid family. This move has made scientists and environmentalists happy, but French farmers are not pleased by this ban. French farmers are worried that without this class of pesticides, many crops such as sugar beets will be left without a defense against the insects that would damage or destroy the crops.
This move by the French government will take effect on December 18, 2018. The pesticides will not be able to be used in the fields, and they will also be banned for use in greenhouses across the country.
The French ban on all five pesticides in the neonicotinoid family is a step beyond what is being called for by the European Union. The European Union has recommended that the three pesticides in the neonicotinoid family that are used outdoors be banned, but the EU has not recommended a ban on the ones that are only used in greenhouses.
Neonicotinoids have been shown be scientists to have unusual effects on bees. Even if the pesticides do not kill the bees outright, the pesticides reduce the fertility of the male bees making it more difficult for the colony to reproduce. Evidence also suggests that the pesticides can interfere with the bees' navigational abilities.
Scientists are not convinced that pesticides are the only factor contributing to bee decline. Fungal infections and the effects of global climate change are also possible factors in bee decline that scientists are continuing to study.
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