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New neonic pesticide report confirms threat to bees

news release

Tougher ban on bee-harming pesticides essential, says Friends of the Earth

A total ban on the outdoor use of three neonicotinoid pesticides is urgently needed, Friends of the Earth said, after a major new report published today (28 February) concluded that most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees.

Friends of the Earth bee campaigner Sandra Bell said:

“This long awaited report confirms the significant threat these neonicotinoid pesticides pose to our bees.

“We have been playing Russian Roulette with the future of our bees for far too long.

“The UK government has already said it will support a complete ban on the outdoor use of these three bee-harming chemicals – a move that is fully justified by this report. Other EU countries must now back a tougher ban too.

“Ministers must also use their post-Brexit farming policy to help our farmers to work in harmony with nature – and not against it. This must include a reduction in the use of all pesticides and a regulatory process that prevents bee-harming chemicals being approved.”


The European Food Safety Authority’s much-awaited assessment of the highly controversial pesticides, reviews the scientific evidence since the ban was introduced in 2013.  The evidence shows that:

  • Overall, use of the three neonicotinoid pesticides (clothianidin, imidicloprid and thiamethoxam) on outdoor crops represents a risk to wild bees and honeybees.
  • In many cases bees foraging on treated crops in the field are likely to be exposed to harmful levels of the neonicotinoid pesticides.
  • Bees are also at risk because neonicotinoids can drift as dust or remain in the soil so the chemical can turn up in the pollen or nectar of flowering plants in the vicinity or succeeding crops in the rotation.  EFSA concluded that bees could be exposed to harmful levels of neonicotinoids pesticides through this route.


Farmers in the UK have already shown that they can farm without neonicotinoids with some major rapeseed oil producers pledging to stay neonic-free with or without a ban.

Friends of the Earth is part of a coalition of over 80 NGOs across the EU, including beekeeping groups, calling for a complete ban on bee-harming neonicotinoids.


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