The future of the bee population has been a hot topic for these past few years. From encouraging the planting of bee friendly flowers to education about how bees aren’t dangerous (despite most people’s common beliefs), many groups are making it their mission to help save the bees.
Health Canada recently conducted a study on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. Despite the findings showing that the bees were only affected by the substance in certain situations, they are sticking with their proposal to phase out most outdoor and agricultural pesticides. This comes after over 200 scientists penned recommendations to international governments requesting agreements be made in with they cease the use of neonicotinoids. They also asked that they consider banning the development of future harmful pesticides.
Five years ago Europe went ahead and banned the use of neonicotinoids on any crops and they confirmed that based on their research these substances can kill both wild bees and honey bees. Currently they are only allowed in greenhouses.
For more information about how you can help the bees, here are 10 ways to get you started.
What are Neonicotinoids?
Neonicotinoids (sometimes shortened to neonics /ˈniːoʊnɪks/) are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. In the 1980s Shell and in the 1990s Bayer started work on their development. The neonicotinoid family includes acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world. Compared to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, neonicotinoids cause less toxicity in birds and mammals than insects. Some breakdown products are also toxic to insects.
Neonicotinoid use has been linked in a range of studies to adverse ecological effects, including honey-bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) and loss of birds due to a reduction in insect populations; however, the findings have been conflicting, and thus controversial. In 2013, the European Union and a few non EU countries restricted the use of certain neonicotinoids; in 2018, the EU banned the three main neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) for all outdoor uses. Several states in the United States have also restricted usage of neonicotinoids out of concern for pollinators and bees.