The European Union plans to ban the world’s most widely used insecticides in an effort to protect bees and other valuable pollinator insects. The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by member nations on Friday, is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.
Not only have these insecticides been linked to dramatic declines in bees and other pollinators, they’re also suspected in declines in many other insect species, along with insect-eating birds and bats. Even important creatures like earthworms are being damaged by neonics, a four-year investigation by the task force found.
The EU had previously banned use of neonics on flowering crops that are known to specifically attract bees, noting that an estimated three quarters of important food crops may be pollinated by bees.