European Union bans neonicotinoid insecticides everywhere except greenhouses

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The EU voted in 2013 to temporarily restrict three types of neonics: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam were banned from use on staple crops including corn, wheat, oats, and canola.

European nations approved a policy banning pesticides that kill bees namely insecticides of the neonicotinoid group.

The most recent bee risk assessment reports didn't find high risks for many neonicotinoid uses, according to Bayer's statement.

The European Union voted Friday to ban outdoor use of pesticides that harms bees. Instead of staying on the surface of the plant - such as its leaves - the chemicals are sent to the "flowers, pollen and nectar", which attacks bees' nervous systems when encountered killing the crucial pollinators and keeping others from laying eggs.

Scientists have many theories on the reason for the decline - from diseases and parasites - but pesticide exposure has gained the most criticism as studies continue to point to its impact on the bees' health.

B&Q market director Steve Guy said of the EU's decision today: "B&Q was the first United Kingdom retailer to introduce a total ban on plants grown using neonicotinoids, and we absolutely welcome this new European Union legislation".

The new regulations will be adopted by the European Commission in the coming weeks and "become applicable by the end of this year".

Meanwhile, environmental groups have been extremely supportive of the decision.

Critics argue the pesticides are poisonous to bees and damage the environment because it diminishes their role in pollinating other plants.

Antonia Staats, senior campaigner at Avaaz, which led a petition backed by five million signatures to ban the chemicals, said: "Banning these toxic pesticides is a beacon of hope for bees".

Emi Murphy, from Friends of the Earth, added: "This is a major victory for science, common sense and our under-threat bees".

"Finally, our governments are listening to their citizens, the scientific evidence and farmers who know that bees can't live with these chemicals and we can't live without bees". In future, farmers will only be allowed to use the substances in permanent greenhouses.

"What is needed is a move towards truly sustainable farming methods that minimise pesticide use, encourage natural enemies of crop pests, and support biodiversity and healthy soils", he said.

Pesticides have been blamed as a cause of colony collapse disorder along with mites, pesticides, virus and fungus, or some combination of these factors. As bees are pollinators, declining bee populations will have a significant effect on crop production.

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