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Beekeepers Urge British Government to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticide

Update Date: Apr 26, 2013 09:03 PM EDT
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Beekeepers and supporters gathered in Parliament Square in London on Friday to to call for the government to support a ban on pesticides linked to the death of bees.

The demonstration comes ahead of a vote in Brussels on Monday which will decide whether Europe introduces a two-year moratorium on various neonicotinoid pesticides.

Research suggests that neonicotinoid pesticides have significant adverse affects on the survival rate of bees, according to BBC News.

Britain has previously refused to back the ban saying the effect of these chemicals on bees is unclear.

Supporters of the ban, likely to be passed in a vote on Monday, argue the greater risk to food production is from the long-term loss of bees. Experts at the European Food Safety Authority have concluded there is now sufficient evidence to impose a precautionary ban while further research is done.

On the march, Steve Benbow, owner of the London Honey Company, which has several hundred hives across the UK, said: "We're here because the government is not listening to beekeepers - they need to wake up," according to the Guardian.

He said "The effect of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees and other pollinators is catastrophic. I've seen my bees get increasingly exhausted and ragged and they can die in huge numbers in front of the hives, but its the build up over time that is really damaging." Bad weather and the build up of the varroa parasite are problems, he said, but so are pesticides.

"It's fantastic to see the strength of support and that so many of the public are behind this issue," said Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association. "Pollination is a vital resource for our farmers."

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