Buzzing for help: ‘Buzz Lines’ to help reverse decline of bees in EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters): Bees are essential for the survival and balance of nature, and they need help from humans as they are threatened with destruction – due to humans’ actions.

In light of that reality, the European Union’s executive body laid out measures to reverse the decline of the insects vital for crop production, among which were “Buzz Lines” for bees and other pollinators where they could move across Europe and find food and shelter.

Currently, one in 10 bee and butterfly species and one in three hoverfly species is threatened with extinction.

The seven-year plan presented by the EU will also increase monitoring of the insects across the 27 member states, aiming to halt the population decline in pollinators crucial to the majority of crops and wildflowers.

Changing land use, intensive agriculture with pesticides, pollution, invasive alien species, pathogens, and climate change are among the threats facing pollinating insects.

The European Parliament and the Council, representing EU governments, will need to endorse the plan. EU members will then have to identify measures to reverse the decline of pollinators by 2030, which will be a legal requirement under the EU’s Nature Restoration Law.

Mitigating pesticide use and enhancing pollinator habitats in agricultural and urban areas were also recommended by the Commission, and the body will monitor emergency authorizations granted for harmful pesticides and prohibit use where not authorized.

France, for example, has dropped plans to allow sugar beet growers to use a pesticide banned over risks to bees after a European Union court rejected such an exemption.

The plan is a revision to a 2018 initiative that sought to improve knowledge and public awareness of the decline of pollinators. The EU has also restricted using three neonicotinoid pesticides that pose a high risk to bees.

However, a review found that current measures were insufficient to reverse the pollinator decline.