Why Are Bees Disappearing from Earth?
In the past decade, massive colonies of bees have been disappearing from the face of Earth and no one is really sure why. Bees play an important role in our ecosystem, pollinating flowers and helping them grow. Bees are the key to our varied and nutritious diet and keep the cycle of life turning all the time.
After years of speculation as to what could make bees disappear, experts have finally found out that it’s due to excessive use of pesticides. The pesticide varieties we use today are highly dangerous for the environment and for bees as well. After a study identified five pesticides which are responsible for the declining bee population, most countries didn’t take any heavy measures. However, France took things seriously.
France has become the first European country to ban all five pesticides (neonicotinoids). Bee-farmers are certainly satisfied with France’s decision, yet beet farmers are complaining that their crops would not survive without these pesticides. We guess they’ll just have to adjust.
The First EU Country to Ban Harmful Pesticides
In the European Union, only three of the five pesticides have been banned. France went a step further and stepped outside the boundaries in the EU to ban all five. The ban applies to indoor fields and greenhouses. The studies done on the pesticides showed that they are directly responsible for the so-called “colony collapse disaster” among European bees. Britain agreed with the ban after seeing the studies, changing its previous stance.
How Do Pesticides Harm Bees?
The pesticides are just as addictive as drugs or nicotine. They have a similar chemical structure to nicotine and attack the insects’ central nervous systems.
Neonicotinoids are widely used today. They replaced even more harmful pesticides in the past, yet turned out just as harmful. The ban is still opposed by angry French farmers, who believe that there’s no evidence to link the pesticides with declining bee populations. Of course, scientists fully support France’s decision.
France’s biggest farming union FNSEA says that the ban may trigger unfair competition between European producers, calling for an exemption of the ban in certain areas. The good thing is that ANSES, France’s health public agency, claims that there are healthier alternatives to neonicotinoids which work just as good. Farmers are not so sure about it, but things will change soon.
Countries such as Canada are expected to follow in France’s footsteps. Canada has to phase out thiamethoxam and clothianidin and reduce the use of pesticides overall. It’s a step in the positive direction that can save bees and help Earth heal.