excerpt from SCIENCE Magazine, February 28, 2018
Controversial insecticides known as neonicotinoids pose a danger to wild bees and managed honey bees, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, said in a report released today. Bayer, a maker of so-called neonics, disputed EFSA's findings. But the report is likely to give a boost to those pushing for tighter European regulation of the chemicals.
“This report certainly strengthens the case for further restrictions on neonicotinoid use,” entomologist Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K., said in a statement. The European Commission last year proposed—but has not yet adopted—extending a partial ban on neonics to all field crops.
Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides. Often, they are used to coat seeds to protect them when they are planted in the ground. After the seed germinates, the pesticide spreads throughout the growing plant and guards it against nibbling insects. But the insecticide is also present in the nectar and pollen, meaning pollinators get dosed, too. Many studies have shown the chemicals affect the ability of honey bees to learn and forage..
Last year, the commission proposed extending the neonic ban to all field crops, allowing an exemption for greenhouses. It hoped for a vote in early 2018. Support was mixed: This past December, 11 EU nations endorsed the wider ban, whereas six opposed it and 11 took no stance. Many wanted to wait until EFSA chimed in. On 22 March, the commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed is set to discuss the new EFSA report. No date has been scheduled for a vote on the commission's proposed expansion of the ban. see more here....