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French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll has outlined plans to ban Cruiser OSR a neonicotinoid pesticide and has officially asked the EU Commission to re-evaluate neonicotinoid pesticides to increase protection for bees.
Cruiser OSR is a pesticide containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam, is used as a seed coating in oilseed rape crops. This product is available for commercial use in the UK.
A recent study by Mickael Henry from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (Inra) in Avignon, found that thiamethoxam affects the foraging ability of bees.
Matt Shardlow Buglife Chief Executive Officer said "France has reacted quickly and properly to new evidence that a pesticide is likely to damage bees. In contrast the UK Government's head is in the sand on the neonicotinoid pesticides issue, preferring to defer decision making until they are presented with a hypothetical - but virtually unachievable - level of scientific proof. This is a policy that protects the pesticide industry but does not protect the public and the environment. A more precautionary path must be found so that our wild bumblebees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies can pollinate flowers safely".
A second pesticide product widely used on UK oilseed rape contains the neonicotinoid chemical imidacloprid. A scientific study carried out by Dr Penelope Whitehorn, Stirling University, found that when bumblebee nests and their queens were exposed to imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticides, at levels present in the UK countryside they grew more slowly and the nest had 85% reduction in the number of queens they produced.
Vicky Kindemba, Buglife Conservation Manager said "Oilseed rape with its prominent yellow fields is a crop that dominates our countryside but it could also be poisoning our pollinators. British Government needs to pay attention to the ban and take urgent action to protect our important pollinators from these dangerous pesticides".
For more information about Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, please visit www.buglife.org.uk