The world's bees are in trouble. As they rapidly die out, the foods that they pollinate, including many nuts, fruits and vegetables, will die out as well. In other words, if the bees go, we all go -- which is why it's so vital that we ban the poisons that are killing them off.
Many environmentalists say a major cause of the mass bee death is the prevalence of neonicotinoid pesticides, which shut down the nervous system of any bug eating the plant. And those toxins can sneak into pollen and nectar, where they'll disorient and effectively mute the bees unlucky enough to come into contact with them. For a social insect like the bee, who relies on telling its colony-mates where sources of food and danger are, losing the ability to communicate might as well be a death knell for it and the rest of the colony.
Because of this danger, Europe banned neonicotinoids for three years starting in 2013. Now, though, a pesticide manufacturer called Syngenta has applied for an "emergency" exemption to the ban. If that exemption is granted, almost one-third of all oilseed rape in the UK could be sprayed with neonicotinoid poison, posing a serious -- and potentially fatal -- hazard for bees.
Defra can't undo all the good work it's done for bees in the past year by opening a loophole for a major pesticide corporation. Urge it not to grant an exemption for Syngenta!
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