Bees not dying; Europe should lift neonics ban

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Brussels banned a class of pesticides to avert a ‘beepocalypse’ that wasn’t happening. Now bugs threaten crops, and farmers may need harsher chemicals.

In 2013, to stem what was thought at the time to be a declining honeybee population, the European Union imposed a two-year ban on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, known as neonics. Unfortunately, the decision was based on faulty science and pressure exerted by environmental lobbyists, and has since caused a widespread deterioration in crops across the U.K. and Europe. Now that the ban is set to expire in November, the EU has a chance to correct its mistake before any more damage is done.

The first and most compelling argument against the ban is, quite simply, that the honeybee population has in fact not been in decline. The EU’s own official statistics show the number of honeybee hives rising by 900,000 during the two decades that neonics were on the market. Meanwhile, other wild bee species—those that pollinate crops and thus would come into most extensive contact with neonics—are thriving.

When the EU first imposed the ban, it cited the work of the French scientist Mickaël Henry. Mr. Henry now confesses that he may have overdosed the bees with neonics in his experiments, as many of us suspected at the time, and admits he has “no real clues” how much insecticide bees encounter in the field.

As a result, the European Commission now concedes that the neonics ban “was at no time based on a direct link on bee mortality.”

If the Commission does the right thing and allows the two-year ban to expire, it would be a huge relief to farmers trying to save their crops and conservationists trying to save the bees. Just as important, it would be a repudiation of the scare mongering employed by environmentalists.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The Bees Are Safe—Now Lift This Pesticide Ban