Press Release, Sept 19, 2008
Coalition against Bayer Dangers (Germany)

Italy bans Pesticides linked to Bee Devastation

Neonicotinoids now suspended in four European countries

The Italian government banned the use of several neonicotinoid pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The Ministero del Lavoro della Salute e delle Politiche Sociali issued an immediate suspension of the seed treatment products clothianidin, imidacloprid, fipronil and thiamethoxam used in rapeseed oil, sunflowers and sweetcorn. The Italian government will start a monitoring program to further investigate the reasons of recent bee deaths.

Italy followed Germany and Slovenia which banned sales of clothianidin and imidacloprid in May. In France imidacloprid has been banned on sunflowers already since 1999. In 2003 the substance was also banned as a sweetcorn treatment. Bayer´s application for clothianidin was rejected by French authorities.

The two substances are produced by the German company Bayer CropScience and generated €800 million in 2007. Imidacloprid is Bayer´s best-selling pesticide.

In August the German Coalition against Bayer Dangers brought a charge against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer Board of Management, for marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby accepting the mass death of bees all over the world. The charge was introduced in cooperation with German beekeepers who lost thousands of hives after poisoning by the pesticide clothianidin in May this year.

Harro Schultze, attorney of the Coalition against Bayer Dangers said: “The Public Prosecutor needs to clarify which efforts Bayer undertook to prevent a ban of imidacloprid and clothianidin in Germany after sales of both substances were stopped in France. We´re suspecting that Bayer submitted flawed studies to play down the risks of pesticide residues in treated plants”.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are systemic chemicals that work their way through the plant and attack the nervous system of any insect it comes into contact with. The substances also get into the pollen and the nectar and can damage beneficial insects such as bees.

The Press Release of the Italian Government:

Sep 30 2008 by Sally Williams, Western Mail (Wales)

Ban crop sprays to save bees

THE Soil Association yesterday wrote to Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for the Environment, urging him to ban a group of crop sprays because of fears they could be killing honey bees.
The association said a group of insect-killing sprays known as “neonicotinoids” which are widely used in UK farming have now been banned in four other European countries because they are thought to be killing bees.
And it said Italy had just joined Germany, Slovenia and France in banning the sprays after they accepted that they were killing bees.
Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett, said: “It is typical of the lax approach to pesticide regulation in the UK that we look like being one of the last of the major farming countries in the EU to wake up to the threat to our honey bees and ban these nasty sprays.
“We want the Government to act today to remove this threat to Britain’s honey bees.”
Welsh beekeepers have reported that close to one in three hives have failed to make it through last winter and spring due to Colony Collapse Disorder which they say is not just a problem for beekeepers and farmers, but for consumers as well, since bee pollination is essential for crop production.
The US Department of Agriculture said one out of every three mouthfuls of food is dependant on bee pollination, and globally up to two-thirds of all major crops rely on pollination, mainly by bees.
The association said the products implicated in bee deaths, clothianidin, imidacloprid, fipronil and thiamethoxam, were approved to kill insects on a wide range of crops in the UK including oilseed rape, barley, and sugar beet.
The oilseed rape crop’s yellow flowers are very attractive to honey bees, and are grown by beekeepers.

more information:
=> Germany: Charge against Bayer´s Board of Management
=> The News and Observer (USA): Bayer on defensive in bee deaths
=> The Guardian: Germany bans chemicals linked to bee devastation