In the summer of 2018, France made the revolutionary step to ban all Neonicotinoids. This coming on the heels of a recent EU decision to ban 3 neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam, for outdoor use. France takes this a step further by also adding 2 other neonicotinoids to this list, thiacloprid and acetamiprid, and by even banning the use of all neonicotinoids for both outdoor and greenhouse use. The producers of these neonicotinoids have continued to state that they are safe for pollinators.
So, the question some of you may be asking is: What is a neonicotinoid? In short, they are a group of pesticides that use a chemical that is very similar to nicotine to kill insects. While initially praised for being of low toxicity to pollinator species, many apiarists now blame this class of pesticides for being a potential cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. This is because while these pesticides often do not outright kill the bees affected, it is believed to impact their foraging abilities. When hives are rented out to fields that are treated with neonicotinoids, they are often damaged as a result and considering that France’s honeybee population is currently in a downward trend, many beekeepers are looking to protect their livelihoods.
While environmentalists and beekeepers approve of this strict ban in France, many farmers and their unions are protesting it. They believe that it will leave their fields vulnerable to pests and unable to compete with imported products as a result. They also claim that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the bee-killing or colony collapsing effects of neonicotinoids on honeybees.
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Hyperlink: France’s neonicotinoid ban