Insecticides Pose Threat To Bee Populations, Report Says

European scientists have found that imidacloprid, the world’s most widely used insecticide, poses “unacceptable” risks to bee populations, a finding that some groups hope will result in a ban on the chemical. Asked to assess the health risks of imidacloprid and two other neonicotinoids — clothianidin and thiamethoxam — as seed treatment or as granules, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that the chemicals should be used only on crops that are “not attractive to honeybees” because of possible risk of exposure through nectar and pollen. Some researchers have said the neonicotinoids make bees more vulnerable to pathogens and could be a factor in so-called “colony collapse disorder,” a phenomenon that has decimated honeybee populations for several years. A spokesman for Bayer, which manufactures imidacloprid, told the Guardian that the EFSA report does not alter existing risk assessments and warned against bans based on “an over-interpretation of the precautionary principle.”