Kim Robinson Written by Kim Robinson

EU ban bee harming neonicotinoid pesticides

According to British Farming Groups, the UK could be forced to rely heavily on imported crops following a vote to extend the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in Europe. Within the next six months the world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields in order to protect both wild and honeybees that are crucial to crop pollination.  The chemicals will however still be legal to use in closed greenhouses.

Pure sugar produced by Ragus. Ragus is one of the world's leading pure sugarmanufacturers. It sources raw sugar from across the world to manufacture sugars, syrups and special formulations from its advanced UK factory. Ragus ships its sugars globally, delivering on-time and in-full to customers across the brewing, baking, confectionary, and pharmaceutical industries


Speaking on behalf of Pesticide Action Network Europe, Martin Dermine said: “Authorising neonicotinoids a quarter of a century ago was a mistake and led to an environmental disaster. Today’s vote is historic.” Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for Health and Food Safety agrees, added “bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”

Neonicotinoids are systematic agricultural insecticides that resemble nicotine and studies have found that there is a link between using these chemicals on crops and the declining bee population. Since 1900, 13 species of bee have been lost in the UK alone, and over 30 more species are currently at risk. The world relies on each species of bee to help pollinate plants and crops, but pesticides are playing a huge part in their demise.

Neonics are absorbed into every part of the plant, from root to the flowers and tips of the leaves, so once the plant is subjected to these chemicals bees have no chance of avoiding them. When a bee feeds on the pollen and nectar that have been contaminated with these chemicals it damages its nervous system and motor function, thus affecting its navigation, feeding, foraging and reproduction abilities.

Over recent years scientific evidence has been building up and new evidence is constantly emerging to show that neonicotinoids also contaminate the environment; hedgerows, wild flowers, other insects and animals and water sources are all being affected.

According to Friends of The Earth a recent survey revealed that 81% of the British public are in favour of the government maintaining the EU ban to help protect our wild and honeybees.

The National Farmers Union has argued that restricting the use of neonicotinoids will see a massive increase in crop damage due to insects and subsequently farmers will suffer losses. Pesticide manufacturers agree with farming groups and have accused the EU of being too cautious. Graeme Taylor, at the European Crop Protection Association said, “European agriculture will suffer as a result of this decision.”

Obviously the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs welcomed the ban, but a spokesman has said that they “recognise the impact a ban will have on farmers and (we) will continue to work with them to explore alternative approaches.”

Here at Ragus we are members of the Bee Farmers’ Association and work closely with them to maintain sugar supplies to the bee population in the UK. Ragus supply Liquid Sugar to feed the bees in autumn and Bee Candy, which is a mixture of sucrose and dextrose, crystallised into block form and placed directly on the hive during the winter months to prevent them from starving; bees don’t leave their hives in dangerously low temperatures, so this solution is given in case they run out of honey to survive on.

Ragus can also deal with supplying honey for clients who want to use it as an inclusion for their food and drink products; after all it’s a natural sugar! For more information or if you’re looking for pure sugars as ingredients for bakery, dessert, confectionery, beverage or pharmaceutical contact