The threat posed to bees by neonicotinoid pesticides is greater than perceived in 2013 when the EU adopted a partial ban, new report concludes
Staff and agencies
Thursday 12 January 2017 14.55 GMT
Europe should expand a ban on bee-harming pesticides in light of a new report warning of widespread risks to agriculture and the environment, Greenpeace has said.
The report by biologists at the University of Sussex and commissioned by Greenpeace, concluded that the threat posed to bees by neonicotinoid pesticides was greater than perceived in 2013 when the European Union adopted a partial ban.
“New research strengthens arguments for the imposition of a moratorium” on the use of three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, the analysis concluded.
“It has become evident that they pose significant risks to many ... organisms, not just bees.”
A global review last November said about 1.4bn jobs and three-quarters of all crops depend on pollinators, mainly bees.
There are some 20,000 species of bees responsible for fertilising more than 90% of the world’s 107 major crops.
Last year, the United Nations said 40% of invertebrate pollinators - particularly bees and butterflies - risk global extinction.
Bee populations have been hit in Europe, North America and elsewhere by a mysterious phenomenon called “colony collapse disorder”.
The blight has been blamed on mites, a virus or fungus, pesticides, or a combination of factors.
“These essential insects are in serious trouble,” Greenpeace wrote in a foreword to the report published on Thursday, which its authors said involved analysing hundreds of scientific studies published since 2013.