Danish nature advocates are up in arms following the revelation that sales of imidacloprid – an insecticide that also kills wild bees – have increased significantly in Denmark as of late.
According to the Danmarks Naturfredningsforening (DN) society for nature and conservation, the amount of imidacloprid sold in Denmark has risen by 85 percent in just two years.
The insecticide is banned in the EU, but in Denmark users can get dispensation and it is often used by the agriculture sector for the production of beets.
“Our wild bees are in serious decline, so it’s horrible to use this kind of pesticide in Denmark,” Maria Reumert Gjerding, the head of DN, told TV2 News.
“The dispensation practice must stop. Research indicates that it is very damaging to wild bees. It can impact their nervous system, as well as their ability to reproduce and orientate themselves.”
Bee keepers struggling
Imidacloprid was banned by the EU in 2013, and in 2018 that ban was further toughened, but the government decided to give Danish farmers the option to apply for dispensation.
Gjerding said that the Danes should look to Sweden, where the government has stripped farmers of the dispensation option.
“It’s become more difficult to be a bee keeper and keep the honey bees alive – and it’s partly down to these insecticides. We know that these substances remain in the ground for a long time, so the subsequent crops can absorb it and pass it on,” said Rune Havgaard Sørensen, the head of the national bee keeper association Danmarks Biavlerforening.
However, the Landbrug & Fødevarer agriculture and food council has stated that it completely trusts the government’s evaluation of the situation.