A restriction on the use of three pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid family has been adopted by the European Commission. These pesticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) were identified as being harmful toEurope’s honeybee population. This restriction will enter into force as from 1 December 2013 and will be reviewed, at the latest, within two years. It targets pesticides used in the treatment of plants and cereals that are attractive to bees and pollinators.
The measure forms part of the Commission’s overall strategy1 to tackle the decline ofEurope’s bee population. Since the publication of the Commission’s bee health strategy in 2010, several actions have been taken or are underway. These include: the designation of a EU Reference Laboratory for bee health; increased EU co-financing for national apiculture programmes, co-financing to carry out surveillance studies in 17 voluntary Member States (€3.3 million were allocated in 2012) and EU research programmes such as BeeDoc and STEP which look into the multifactorial aspects that could be attributed toEurope’s bee decline.
Member States must withdraw or amend existing authorisations to comply with the EU restrictions by 30 September 2013. They can allow the use of existing stocks until 30 November at the latest. National authorities are responsible for ensuring that the restrictions are correctly applied.
As soon as new information is available, and at the latest within 2 years, the Commission will review this restriction to take into account relevant scientific and technical developments.