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Germany to Ban Neonic Treated Cereal Seeds


Death in the Hive

Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt wants to improve the protection of bees. As the "Bild" newspaper reported on Tuesday, Schmidt signed for this reason Emergency Ordinance, which prohibits the trading and sowing with insecticides-treated winter cereal seeds.
Seed treatment with plant protection products containing certain neonicotinoids is already prohibited in Germany at winter crops. But it can not be ruled out that treated seed is imported from other countries. Schmidt told the newspaper: "The Regulation we protect the bees against insecticide-containing dust. This benefits both the bee as an important part of nature as well as the farmers, who are dependent on the pollination of their crops by the bees. "Experts fear that the means to contribute to the currently observed bee deaths. "The vitality and health is to protect the so important for the whole of nature and us humans Bees me great concern," said the Minister.

The bee deaths

2006 for the first time in Europe on the phenomenon "bee deaths" reported. In the same year the term "Colony Collapse Disorder" was coined in the United States. However, the bees seemed to be recovering. Heuer have but about 22.3 percent of the bee colonies did not survive the past winter, according to estimates of the beekeepers in Germany, in some places even up to 30 percent. Usually there are like 2014 only ten percent. In total about 750,000 bee colonies in Germany is clear in winter 2015, a loss of 225,000 people, according to Petra Friedrich, the spokeswoman of the German Beekeepers' Association. Particularly high losses there were, according to the organization in Bavaria, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Saarland. The distances between years with high loss rates are shorter. "Previously, there was a peak like this year every ten to 15 years," explains Friedrich "," today rather every two to three years. "The main cause is that the bees weakened due to the mild autumn went into the winter. This they did more susceptible to infestation with varroa mites, which in the 70s had immigrated from Asia main threat of European bees made. It feeds on the blood of bees. In addition, through the bites that cause the mites to bees pathogenic viruses penetrate into the insect. This is due to the centuries of beekeeping: So is native to America, aggressive Africanized bee, known as "Killer Bee", against the Varroa mite largely immune, since she was not bred out the ability to fight back. But one reason is the unsuitable for bees monocultures in agriculture. If the pollen supply fails badly, suffer the bees to protein deficiency and have the mite oppose less. In addition, the food for bees through these changes in agriculture as a whole is scarce. Another risk is that industrial farming is also in bees that requires ever higher drug use.

Always new threats

In addition to the Varroa mite and the monocultures in agriculture to beekeepers must also set to always new threats to their bees. New additions include cherry vinegar fly, Asian hornet and small hive beetle and the Nosema fungus, various viruses and the still unclear danger of employed in agriculture insecticides. The previously common only in southern Italy hive beetle lays in the cracks and crevices of the stick from its larvae, which eat up inventories and breeding of bees. The cherry fruit fly, which is already flying in Bavaria, preferably pierces overripe red fruits and therein lays its eggs, bring the same in two ways dangers, said Ingrid Illies, bee expert at the Bavarian State Research Center for Viticulture and Horticulture (LWG) in Franconia Veitshöchheim beginning July. The bees collect the beaten juice and so contaminate the honey. And the pesticides against the fly are not always safe for the bees. The Asian hornet was first seen in 2014 in Freiburg. "With their speed of propagation can be assumed that we have here in the next year", estimated Illies. As the domestic hornet chase the exotic insect bees, but much more effective: "They seem to deny to opt for a bee colony, the monitor from the air and absorb all the returning bees." The LWG presented the Bavarian beekeepers on July 12 in Veitshöchheim new pests before. "We want to inform beekeepers in good time so can be prepared and not succumbing to hysteria," said Illies. Against the fungus Nosema currently helps only an antibiotic that is banned in Germany. Deadly was curiously also the postal strike a few weeks ago: The often sent in packets to beekeepers queen bees lay there and died.

The danger of insecticides

In recent years, several studies have supplied evidence that insecticides can affect bees, for example, by interfering with their ability to learn and their orientation capability. These neonicotinoids could thus also contribute to the currently observed bee deaths, experts fear. These fears have prompted the moratorium, which entered into force on 1 December-2013. The application of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin was so severely restricted temporarily to check precisely the hazard potential in further scientific studies. It is synthetically produced drugs that are used for controlling plant pests. If the seed treated with it, a budget spread in the growth of the entire plant, are therefore also found in the pollen and nectar later. But the moratorium is not a total ban, but only a limited approval. One must the winter crops and greenhouse spraying in parts of Europe still. This limited authorization will expire end of 2015.

This is how nicotine for bees.
Now report the scientists who advise the EU to speak. You acknowledge that the use of certain toxins is responsible for the death of bees. According to the report of the scientists from the use of insecticides not only honey bees, but also moths and butterflies are concerned, which also pollinate plants. Also on insectivorous birds were the pesticides effects. Other studies have found that bees preferred driving neonicotinoids with treated plants and in their nervous system the same mechanisms causes such as nicotine in the brains of people.

Under suspicion

But it could be much worse: Some beekeepers reported that bees fly out to collect pollen from the hive and die in returning, often even before the hive. Varoa Mites were not found on many of them or only to a limited extent. So you can not be the cause of this bee mortality.

Neonicotinoid agents containing inter alia be produced by chemical companies Bayer CropScience and the Swiss Syngenta. Both warn that bans lead to significant losses during harvesting. Environmentalists criticize about the BUND against the fact that on certain insecticide packaging even the imprint "not toxic to bees" stand. In this context, the Düsseldorf district court recently ruled that the federal government must continue to assert, two manufactured by Bayer products with the neonicotinoid active substance thiacloprid are harmful to bees. In addition, the pesticide active thiacloprid, contained for example in the Bayer products "Schädlingsfrei Calypso" and "Ornamental Spray Lizetan" may no longer be designated as non-hazardous for bees. Bayer decided not to appeal against this verdict. By contrast, the two manufacturers complain currently before the European Court against the moratorium. The environmental organization Greenpeace is even committed to ban pesticides at least seven of Syngenta, Bayer, BASF and other manufacturers: namely also fipronil, chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin and deltamethrin. The magazine "Ökotest" recently found in all tested German honeys residues of thiacloprid.

The facts:

In Germany alone, according to the German Beekeepers' Association, the number of bee colonies since 1952 of 2.5 million declined on today less than a million. One reason was certainly the beekeeper fading, although now rising beekeepers numbers again. Worldwide there are an estimated 20,000 different species of bees, but only nine species produce honey. Honeybees, wild bees and other insects like butterflies play an important role in about 35 percent of global food production. Approximately 75 percent of food crops are pollinated by bees, but not grains such as wheat, rice and maize. But vegetables and fruits are dependent on pollination by insects, as well as oilseeds such as canola and sunflower, wild herbs and medicinal plants. Bees are thus an enormous economic factor and - without exaggeration - the main labor force in agriculture. Worldwide they provide, according to studies with their pollination services for a value of about 200 billion euros per year. The FAO, the Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has, after all, still determines a value of about 70 to 100 billion euros. According to FAO, the pollination of bees and wild bees in Germany is estimated to be two to two and a half billion euros in the year, in Europe there are 15 billion.

If the bee disappears again from the earth, man has to live only four years.
Albert Einstein

Would the bees die out, there were not only no honey, and fruit and vegetables would be luxury goods. If we fail to maintain the bee population, this would, according to researchers led by Samuel Myers of Harvard TH Chan College of Public Health in Boston more fatal consequences for humans. Should the animals die out completely, which would result according to her published in the journal "The Lancet" study to a decline in global fruit harvest by nearly 23 percent. The vegetable harvest was going back to 16 percent, the. Of nuts and cereals by 22 percent A domino effect would be the result: Of course, many plants could not reproduce without fertilization by bees and therefore also become extinct. And if certain plants disappear, there are also animals no longer that depend on these plants, not only insects, but also many birds and mammals. By Bienentod connected also had the job loss of all employees of companies that process fruit.

Even Albert Einstein is said to have warned in 1949: "If the bee disappears again from the earth, man has to live only four years. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man. "Quite so bad it might not be. In China, people make do in some areas, lack of bees for some time in order to pollinate in all squads with a brush, the flowers in orchards themselves. Whether that would be to transfer to all plants, may be doubted. A very critical look at the global bee population is the most successful Swiss documentary of all time, "More than honey" (More than honey), from 2012.