I think the situation in Europe has been completely misrepresented in the press. WIRED NEWS reports:
What they omit:Clothianidin, is manufactured by German agrochemical company Bayer, though itís actually banned in Germany. Itís also banned in France, Italy and Slovenia. Those countries fear that clothianidin, which is designed to be absorbed by plant tissue and released in pollen and nectar to kill pests, is also dangerous to pollen- and nectar-eating bees that are critical to some plantsí reproductive success. -- http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/20...n-controversy/
Numerous studies in Europe have shown NO LINK between neonicotinoids and bee losses.The German government had initially banned clothianidin for use on maize and rapeseed, but the bans were lifted after the problem was resolved. Thus, this case doesnít hold the answer for the problems observed in the US and other countries either.
The bans introduced in France left no significant mark on the bee mortality statistics. Either the French farmers found a way of bypassing the ban, or the banned substances werenít causing that much harm after all. Due to the inefficiency of the ban in France, manufacturers including Germany-based Bayer are hoping to have it lifted very soon. -- Chemistry World | February 2010
SEE ALSO:In 1997, several beekeepers reported that colony death and weakness were the consequence of the use of imidacloprid for seed dressing. This product is indeed very toxic for bees as confirmed by laboratory and semi-field tests.
However, several field studies were conducted in France and elsewhere with colonies kept close to cultures issued from seeds dressed with imidacloprid. None has shown any adverse effect of this product.
This has been confirmed by some bee-keepers that testified that they suffered no adverse effect from such cultures. Additionally, observations in France revealed imidacloprid in pollen loads of several surveyed apiaries with no acute adverse effects on them.
An expert panel gathered by the French Ministry of agriculture studied several scenarios of contamination of bee colonies by imidacloprid. Experts concluded that several PEC/PNEC ratios were very preoccupying. However the experiment we had conducted on colonies for mimicking the natural consumption of contaminated nectar (the most risky scenario according to the expert panel) did not show any adverse effect on the tested colonies.
We conclude that, if contamination by imidacloprid from sunflower cultures issued from treated seeds may have occurred simultaneously with a period of colony losses as described by several French bee-keepers, such occurrence has not been observed systematically, and no negative impact on bee colonies of the use of Gauchoģ has been experimentally demonstrated in the field.
-- IMIDACLOPRID AND BEE MORTALITY IN FRANCE M. Aubert, J.-P.Faucon, A.-C. Martel and M.-P.Chauzat AFSSA
The German bee monitoring project: a long term study to understand periodically high winter losses of honey bee colonies
Periodical honey bee colony losses in Germany: preliminary results from a four years monitoring project
Does Imidacloprid Seed-Treated Maize Have an Impact on Honey Bee Mortality?
Influence of Pesticide Residues on Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Colony Health in France