A French ban on five neonicotinoid pesticides intended to protect the nation’s bees from colony collapse disorder went into effect on Saturday, Agence France-Press reported. Per AFP, the French rules ban all five neonicotinoid pesticides once cleared for use throughout the continent. Earlier this year, the European Union upheld a moratorium of three out of five types of neonicotinoid pesticides for use in fields: clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. Those chemicals are now only allowed to be used in greenhouses throughout the EU. The French ban is much more extensive, restricting the use of all five even in greenhouse farming. Neonicotinoid chemicals are similar in structure to nicotine and have been used en masse over the past two decades, which has made them a particular target of scrutiny among those seeking to explain mass die-offs of bee colonies across the U.S. and Europe in recent years. Scientists suspect that colony collapse disorder is caused by multiple factors. But recent research has found that the pesticides, by acting similarly upon insect brains to how nicotine does on mammalian ones, could in fact be getting bees hooked on poison. Other research has suggested that the neonicotinoid pesticides could be increasing some bees’ vulnerability to varroa mite infestations or disrupting their navigation. So these pesticides likely play a big role. AFP wrote: Introduced in the mid-1990s, lab-synthesised neonicotinoids are based on the chemical structure of nicotine, and attack the central nervous system of insects. They were meant to be a less harmful substitute to… [Read full story]
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