‘Give Bees a Chance’ is the motto taken up by the Greens in the European Parliament in their effort to ban pesticides they say are killing honey bees.
Are pesticides, especially those with a neonicotinoid base, responsible for killing bees around the globe?
More and more Europeans are pointing fingers at these pesticides, which is disputed by the manufacturers. The European Union is discussing a ban on these products, after several countries have imposed bans or restrictions on their use.
The group NGO Pan Europe called on the European commissioner for health and consumer policy to take the products out of the EU marketplace.
The European Crop Protection Association says if that is done, it won’t save any bees, but it will cost European agriculture some 17 billion Euros over five years from lost crops.
But France and Italy already banned the products and have not experienced the widespread losses predicted by the pesticide manufacturers, or at least not yet. There are also claims, not scientifically substantiated, that bee losses have declined since the bans in Italy were put in place.
Some of the controversy arises because the pesticides may not actually kill the bees, but may be responsible for reducing their susceptibility to pathogens or they may somehow confuse the bees’ sense of direction.
Amidst statements by some on the European Parliament’s environmental committee that the products should be immediately withdrawn, others have admitted that the review of the scientific literature has not been completed.