Honeybee

Calling it “unacceptable,” the European Food Safety Authority has blamed the world’s most widely used insecticides for the threat they pose to bee populations.

Coming just months after the UK dismissed findings that linked neonicotinoids with bee deaths,  the EFSA and other industry experts, concluded that neonicotinoids are only acceptable for use on crops that are not attractive to honeybees because of what the agency deems to be a serious risk to bee health. A condition called Colony Collapse Disorder has been plaguing bees around the world with many dying off or fleeing their hives for unknown reasons. Several factors have been repeatedly considered, including the possible connection with pesticides.

In April 2012, the EFSA asked for reexamination of findings on the pesticides, particularly how they affect crops that attract honeybees such as canola, corn and sunflower. The group looked at both the acute and chronic effects of the pesticides on bee larvae, behavior of adults, and the wholoe colony.

Bayer, which makes neonicotinoid imidacloprid products, dismissed the EFSA’s assessment, saying that it didn’t affect the existing risk level associated with the insecticide and cautioned against any “over-interpretation” of the group’s findings. A spokesperson told the Guardian, “We do not believe the new EFSA reports alter the quality and validity of [existing] risk assessments and the underlying studies. [But] the company is ready to work with the European commission and member states to address the perceived data gaps. We believe it is very important that any political decision relating to registrations of neonicotinoid-containing products should be based on clear scientific evidence of adverse effects … and not on the basis of an over-interpretation of the precautionary principle.”

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Image: autan