Bee worries spur ban on pesticides

Published Apr 30, 2013 at 05:00AM

PARIS — The European Commission will enact a two-year ban on a class of pesticides thought to be harming global bee populations, the European Union’s health commissioner said Monday.

“I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over 22 billion euros annually to European agriculture, are protected,” Tonio Borg said in a statement from Brussels, where the commission is based.

Borg made the announcement after representatives of the 27 EU member states failed for the second time in two months to reach a binding agreement on a proposal to ban the pesticides, known as neonicotinoids. The commission had proposed the ban after the European Food Safety Authority recommended in January that use of the pesticides be restricted until scientists determined whether they were contributing to a die-off in bee colonies.