In May 2018 the EU banned three of the significant pesticides implicated in the collapse of bee populations. To save the bees, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam are now prohibited for use on crops.
However late last year France went a step further and set the high bar in the all-important fight to save the bees. Given the importance of pollinators to nature and the survival of the biosphere, and the fact bumblebee species are now officially endangered in the United States, this could not happen too soon!
Studies have reported that the neonicotinoid pesticides attack the central nervous system of insects, leading to reduced fertility, memory loss and disabled homing skills. Bees poisoned by neonicotinoid pesticides cannot find their way back to the hive and quickly die.
Researchers believe the chemicals contribute to “colony collapse disorder”, a phenomenon that has seen bee populations plummet by up to 90 per cent in some parts of the world.
These figures are disastrous news for the biosphere that supports all life on Earth. Bees are essential pollinators, playing an essential role in feeding 90 percent of the world’s population. In fact, the world as we know it couldn’t survive without them.
“If bees were to disappear from the face of the earth, humans would have just 4 years left to live,” David Attenborough recently wrote on Facebook.
There is a reason why France is ahead of the curve in this regard. The bee killing pesticides were first tested on French farms in the 1990s – and French farmers witnessed first-hand the disastrous consequences of the pesticides, describing “a carpet of dead bees”.
Four hundred thousand bee colonies died within days – but the cautionary tale was buried under a layer of corruption and distorted science and hardly reported in the media.
The situation was described as “catastrophic” and a scathing report titled “History of the French Bee Disaster from 1994-2003” stated:
“The science was ignored, corrupted, distorted and buried for over ten years… any scientist who dared to stand up for the truth was threatened, intimidated, bullied or transferred. Scientific careers were ruined, people’s lives were seriously damaged.”
An illuminating documentary on the French bee disaster is available on Youtube (in French with English subtitles):
Since that time, activists and pesticide manufacturers have battled to control the situation. We covered this story in full in a previous post: Overwhelming Evidence Linking Neonicotinoid Insecticides To Massive Die-off Of Bees And Songbirds
The move by France to ban all five bee killing pesticides is certain to be celebrated by ecologists and sets an example of how to protect nature that the rest of the world needs to follow right now, before it’s too late.