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New EU measures to protect bees
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Published on 16-07-13

A Commission proposal to restrict the use of Fipronil, an insecticide which has recently been identified as posing an acute risk to Europe’s honey bee population, was backed by Member State experts meeting today in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

    New EU measures to protect bees

    The measures include:

    • Restricting the crops where Fipronil can be used as a seed treatment;
    • Authorisations may be granted for the treatment of seeds that will only be sown in greenhouses. However, this exception does not apply to leeks, shallots, onions and brassica vegetables (such as Brussel sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli), where treated seeds can also be sown in the field, as the harvest of these crops takes place before flowering;
    • The treatment of maize and sunflower seeds will no longer be authorised.

    23 Member States supported the restriction, 2 Member States voted against and 3 Member States abstained during today's standing committee vote.

    Pesticides have been identified as one of several factors which may be responsible for the decline in the number of bees. Other factors also include parasites, other pathogens, lack of veterinary medicines or sometimes their misuse, apiculture management and environmental factors such as lack of habitat and feed and climate change.

    Next Steps:

    It is now for the Commission to adopt this measure in the coming weeks. Following this, the measure will be published in the EU Official Journal and the restriction will apply from 31 December 2013. Seeds which have been treated can be sown up until 28 February 2014. National authorities are responsible for ensuring that the restrictions are correctly applied.

    This latest EU-wide restriction comes in the wake of a recent Commission decision to restrict the use of three pesticides belong to the neonicotinoid family which will come into force on 1 December 2013 as well as a guidance document on a risk assessment of plant protection products on bees published by EFSA on 12 July 2013.

    Last update: 01/08/2013  |Top