Honey farmers buzzing as EU bans bee-killing sprays

The region’s bee-keepers have welcomed a European commission decision to ban insecticides harmful to bees.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 4th May 2013, 7:43 am

Three insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, will be banned from use on crops for the next two years.

The controversial chemicals have been blamed for their effect on bees, cutting their lifespan and harming their capacity to breed and function normally.

Around 1 per cent of insecticides currently used in farming are neonicotinoids, applied to crops at the seed stage.

Sign up to our daily Berwickshire News Today newsletter

However, apiarists still do not feel they have the full support of their government. Amidst frenetic backstage lobbying, Britain’s representatives in Europe registered a vote against the ban, having previously abstained when the issue was raised.

Scotland’s rural affairs secretary, Richard Lochead, recently called for a two-year delay on the ban.

Gordon White, who has lost eight out of 10 of his bee colonies outside Coldstream, welcomed the news of the ban.

“We are overjoyed,” he said, “but this is only the beginning of the end.

“The fact that chemical firms were able to influence our European representatives to vote ‘no’, after two-and-a-half million people signed a petition asking for the ban, just shows that the Tories are a mask for big business.”

The impact on Graham’s bees has been massive. “I haven’t produced a jar of honey in five years,” he said, “and this year, I’m going to have to figure out how to keep my bees away from the oilseed rape, which is the dominant crop around here.

“To do that, I think I’ll have to move them to National Park land, about 20 miles away.”