Petition Stop Honeybee Decline

[updated 4 December 2009] In the Netherlands, a petition to ask for measures to stop honeybee decline started in June 2009. In five months time, 40856 citizens have signed the petition. The petition has been delivered to the parliament on November 24, 2009. The text of the petition is: Stop Honeybee Decline

We, concerned citizens of The Netherlands *)

• That in the Netherlands (an in many other countries) the populations of honeybees as well as wild pollinators, show a strong decline.
• That national colony losses amount to 20% in the year 2008, being 3 times higher than normal, and that in the provinces Zuid Holland, Flevoland, and parts of Noord Holland colony losses amount to 50% or more (6 times higher than normal).
• That bees are an indicator for the general ecological health of our environment.
• That pollinators, with the honeybee as the key role player, are crucial for agriculture and nature.
• That collapse of pollinators can have large and irreversible impacts on food production and biodiversity.

and ask the Permanent Committee of Parliament for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to contribute to the realization of:

1. A moratorium on the use of the insecticides imidacloprid, clothianidine and thiamethoxam that are know to cause sublethal harmful effects on bee colonies.
2. An extension of the required tests for admission of crop protection products in such a way that they no longer overlook the sub-lethal effects on bee colonies.
3. Better provision of information about, and more research into, bee friendly crop protection techniques for pests that are hard to control where now imidacloprid is chosen too easily.
4. A more multidisciplinary approach to the research of honeybee decline in The Netherlands, by involving a broader consortium of researchers and knowledge institutions and expertises, addressing a wider range of factors that might play a role in understanding and conteracting the exceptionally high rate of honeybee decline observed in The Netherlands.
5. The introduction of a obligation of the water authorities to report all established violations of norms of residues in surface water of insecticides that are highly toxic to bees, in particular: imidacloprid, clothianidine and thiamethoxam.
6. A better and more effective enforcement of compliance with Maximum Tolerable Residue concentrations (MTR) in surface water and drinking water with a high priority for insecticides that are highly toxic to bees, in particular imidacloprid, clothianidine and thiamethoxam.
7. A stricter norm for the MTRs of imidacloprid, clothianidine and thiamethoxam such that bee colonies are better protected.
8. A more bee friendly management of public green space, such that the diversity of the pollen supply increases, both in terms of species diversity and in a more continuous distribution of pollen availability over the seasons, particularly in the agricultural and horticulture regions, amongst others by planting native species that bloom in autumn.
9. Better support for and promotion of the bee-keeping profession to combat the consequences of aging of the beekeeper population and to combat the decreasing interest in this very important profession.

*)This petition has been initiated by:
Jaap Molenaar (nature manager),
Peter Slootweg (bee keeper),
Jeroen van der Sluijs (scientist, Utrecht university and University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines)

The petition (in Dutch) can be found here: