Bee population at risk as farmers using pesticides banned by EU told to buzz off

The bee population is being put at risk by the use of pesticides banned by the EU two years ago.

But the Irish Farmer’s Association is demanding the temporary use of these poisons following similar action by the British Government.

Jane Stout, associate professor at Trinity College’s school of natural sciences in Dublin, said it is disappointing that Britain is allowing these chemicals to be used.

She is concerned about calls for a suspension of the ban in Ireland.

The professor added: “Evidence shows they have negative impacts on not only bees but a much wider spectrum of wildlife in agriculture ecosystems.”

In Ireland, more than half of wild bees species have suffered substantial declines in their numbers since 1980.

Some farmers in Britain are allowed to use neonicotinoid following a campaign by the country’s National Farmers Union.

The chemicals affect the central nervous system of insects and can result in paralysis and death.

Farmers will use the pesticides to ward off the cabbage stem flea beetle on their oilseed rape crops, an important resource for pollinators such as bees and hoverflies.

The IFA’s grain chairman Liam Dunne said the association wants similar action in Ireland.

He added: “This was a sensible move, given that the judicious use of neonicotinoid PPPs [plant protection products] actually reduces the amount of overall insecticides used”.

Mr Dunne said the IFA had been “seeking a robust scientific impact assessment to be carried out by the EU Commission”.

About 75% of crops depend on pollinators but many are in decline due to pesticide use, disease and loss of habitat.

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