Heads up, pollinators of the world: Now would be a great time to take that European vacation you’ve always dreamed of. The European Commission -- the E.U.’s governing body -- voted on Monday to implement a continent-wide ban on the class of insecticides widely suspected of contributing to colony collapse disorder, the mysterious phenomenon that’s been decimating bee populations since 2006.
In January, the European Food Safety Authority warned that three types of neonicotinoid pesticides should be considered unacceptable for use based on their danger to bees. A growing body of scientific evidence has found that, while neonics can't be blamed directly for colony collapse disorder, they do mess with bees’ navigation, foraging, and communication abilities, throw off their reproductive patterns, and weaken their immune systems, leaving colonies more vulnerable to natural threats like mites and fungi. Neonics are the world’s most ubiquitous pesticides, used extensively on major crops like corn, soy, and canola. They're applied to seeds before planting and then show up in the pollen bees come to collect.
Three neonics -- thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and imidacloprid -- will be banned for two years from use on crops bees pollinate, likely starting in December. From the BBC: