Bee studies stir up pesticide debate : Nature News & Comment

The case for restricting a controversial family of insecticides is growing. Two studies published on 22 April in Nature1, 2
address outstanding questions about the threat that the chemicals pose
to bees, and come as regulators around the world gear up for a fresh
debate on pesticide restrictions.

Many bee
populations are in steep decline, with multiple causes identified,
including parasites and the loss of food sources. Also blamed are
neonicotinoids, a widely used class of insecticides that are often
applied to seeds, and find their way into the pollen and nectar of
plants. The use on seeds of three — clothianidin, imidacloprid and
thiamethoxam — is temporarily banned in the European Union because of
concern that they might harm pollinators; the ban is up for review in
December. In the United States, there are no such restrictions, but the
US Environmental Protection Agency said on 2 April that it was
“unlikely” to approve new outdoor neonicotinoid-pesticide uses without
new bee data.

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