Bees get a temporary break

Bee on oilseed rape

It's a good news day for bees today as ministers rejected an application from the National Farmers Union to use banned pesticides on one-third of oilseed rape crops in this country. This is the first time our government has ruled against farmers using neonicotinoids which are bee-harming pesticides.

In 2013 the European Commission banned these pesticides from being used on flowering crops as they were shown to be harmful to bees.

It was interesting to read The Guardian article which mentioned that the Expert Committee on Pesticides said the temporary application contained "insufficient information to ensure that use will be limited only to those areas where there is a danger or threat to plant protection and [did not] offer adequate assurance that the use will be controlled in an appropriate fashion".

Many beekeepers will be delighted to hear this good news and a sigh of relief will be resounding in the beekeeping community.

According to Matt Shardlow, chief executive of Buglife, "Oilseed rape yields went up by 7% last year - this is not an ‘emergency’, the loss of bees and pollinating insects is the emergency. The decision is great news for the bees and for the hundreds of thousands of British people who have asked the government to do more to protect our disappearing pollinators."

The ban has yet to be made permanent, but this is definitely a step in the right direction in making the working life of our humble bees a little bit more kinder given all that they do and provide for our planet.