Saturday, May 24, 2008

Germany bans chemicals linked to honeybee devastation

Common Dreams: Germany has banned a family of pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has suspended the registration for eight pesticide seed treatment products used in rapeseed oil and sweetcorn. The move follows reports from German beekeepers in the Baden-W├╝rttemberg region that two thirds of their bees died earlier this month following the application of a pesticide called clothianidin.

“It’s a real bee emergency,” said Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeepers’ Association. “50-60% of the bees have died on average and some beekeepers have lost all their hives.” Tests on dead bees showed that 99% of those examined had a build-up of clothianidin. The chemical, produced by Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of the German chemical giant Bayer, is sold in Europe under the trade name Poncho. It was applied to the seeds of sweetcorn planted along the Rhine this spring. The seeds are treated in advance of being planted or are sprayed while in the field.

The company says an application error by the seed company which failed to use the glue-like substance that sticks the pesticide to the seed, led to the chemical getting into the air. Bayer spokesman Dr Julian Little told the BBC’s Farming Today that misapplication is highly unusual. “It is an extremely rare event and has not been seen anywhere else in Europe,” he said….

Honey bee shot by Charles Lam of Hong Kong, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License (cc-by-sa-2.0)

No comments: