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Bayer, Syngenta, Rapeseed Producers Possible Bee Vote Losers

honeybeeDow Chemical may see an uptick in sales of its pesticide sprays as a result of the European Union ban on neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides linked to bee decline that are produced mainly by Bayer and Syngenta, Reuters reports.

Another possible loser in the vote last month to protect bees: rapeseed producers.

In late April, the EU voted to impose a two-year ban on neonicotinoids. European rapeseed production will likely take a hit because of the crop’s wide use of these pesticides, Reuters reports. Alternative seed treatments are less effective, according to producers.

Manuela Specht, spokeswoman for German oilseeds industry association UFOP, tells the news agency that insect infestation varies from year to year, making it impossible to predict the extent of losses. In addition to pests reducing rapeseed yields, some farmers may switch to other crops altogether, Specht says.

According to Reuters, in the 2012/13 growing season, the EU produced 19.3 million metric tons of rapeseed out of the global total of 60.7 million metric tons. This includes the cultivated variety canola.

The flea beetle, which has caused major damage to crops in Europe and North America, poses a high risk to EU rapeseed. Some of the worst outbreaks have occurred after a hot summer, Reuters reports, because the beetles lay more eggs in warm weather.

A report by the US Department of Agriculture and the EPA published earlier this month found multiple factors contribute to honeybee colony decline, including parasites, disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure. The researchers pinned a large part of the blame on a parasitic mite known as Varroa destructor, and said it is not clear whether pesticides are a major factor.

Photo Credit: Westminster College


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