The European Commission has put forward its proposals to restrict the use of neonicotinoids – a type of pesticide linked to a decline in honey bee populations.  

The EC is proposing that use of three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam – be restricted to winter cereals and crops that are not attractive to bees, and to prohibit the sale and use of any seeds treated with the pesticides. Consumers would also no longer be allowed to use the pesticides, as they would be restricted to “professional users” only.

The EC said its proposed measures would have to be implemented by 1 July 2013, adding the coming maize sowing season would not be affected. They would then be reviewed after two years.

The proposals were discussed at an experts meeting with member states yesterday (31 January). They will be discussed further by the advisory group of the food chain on 7 February, and health commissioner Tonio Borg then plans to launch a formal consultation.

The proposals come after Borg said earlier this week that “swift and decisive action” was needed to safeguard honey bees across the EU.