France first country to ban pesticides linked with bee deaths

Bees cross pollinate the Earth's cropsFrance has recently become the first country to ban all five pesticides linked with the dwindling bee population.

In their efforts to protect bee colonies, France has implemented a total ban of five neonicotinoids: clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, thiacloprid and acetamiprid.

This blanket ban goes one step further than the European Unionā€™s ban of only three commonly used neonicotinoids (synethic pesticides).

France’s ban not only applies to those pesticides used outdoors in crop fields, but also extends to greenhouses.

Bee populations plummet across the Earth:

Bans have been put into place after mounting evidence that neonicotinoids are contributing to ‘colony collapse disorder‘.

Colony collapse disorder is a mysterious phenomenon which has seen vital bee populations plummet by up to 90 per cent in countries such as the US.

Devastatingly, neonicotinoids contain similar chemical structures to nicotine, resulting in the attack of an insectsā€™ central nervous system.

Scientific research has also shown these chemicals could reduce a beeā€™s sperm count, disrupt their memory and impair their critical honing skills.

Pesticide ban causes divide amongĀ farming community:

While the ban of these neonicotinoids could help support bee populations, some French farmers have claimed it places their business at a disadvantage.

These farmers claim there is not enough evidence to prove neonicotinoids are responsible for the declining number of bees.

Franceā€™s biggest farming union, FNSEA, claims famers are face with a ā€œdramatic technical dead-endā€.

They claim the ban ā€œwill exacerbate unfair competition with European and non-European producersā€ who are still allowed to use the pesticides.

However, a report by Franceā€™s ANSES public health agency found that there are ā€œsufficiently effective, and operationalā€ alternatives to the majority of neonicotinoids.

The simple fact is that without bees, humans cannot exist:

All over the Earth, critical crops are pollinated by bees – asĀ renowned entomologistĀ Marla SpivakĀ describes:

Anyone who cares about the health of the planet, for now and for generations to come, needs to answer this wake-up call… Fewer bees lead to lower availability and potentially higher prices of fruit and vegetables…

We need good, clean food, and so do our pollinators. If bees do not have enough to eat, we won’t have enough to eat. Dying bees scream a message to us that they cannot survive in our current agricultural and urban environments…

Fortunately, there are ways that we can each help our little buzzing friends today:

  1. Plant a bee-friendly habitat: Pollinators need a place to pollinate. Attract bees with fruits, herbs and dedicated insect hotels. Opt for bee-friendly plants in your backyard or window boxes.
  2. Leave bees a drink: Bees need easy access to water to stay hydrated. Create a safe landing spot for bees by placing marbles in a shallow dish of water, somewhere in your garden.
  3. Eliminate pesticides: If required, investigate organic and natural ways to keep your garden healthy.

For more information about protecting bees, visit Greenpeace online.

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