Germany bans glyphosate

From Simon's beekeeping blog. Comments are welcome via email.


With the abundance of updates about feeding getting a bit samey, I've adopted a bit of a newsroom slant for September.

With this in mind, there's another bit of news that I'm over a week late in reporting. That is, Germany is to ban glyphosate weedkiller by 2023, when the EU's approval period for it expires. A first phase will ban its use in parks and private gardens from next year. This follows a petition in Bavaria urging for the promotion of species diversity, which ten percent of the state's voters signed, prompting the local government to pass the law without the referendum it demanded. It's not just Germany banning it either — individual use is, or will be, prohibited in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and elsewhere.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup. It is the world's most used agricultural chemical, so the change is going to be unpopular among farmers, even if bees' pollination is vital to three-quarters of food crops. Glyphosate was thought to be less harmful to bees than the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides since they target an enzyme only found in plants and bacteria. However, recent research suggests that glyphosate harms larval growth, impedes navigation and perturbs the bees' gut microbiota, since most bees' guts have the enzyme that glyphosate targets.

On a much more local level, I can report that given all these discoveries and what appears to be a growing fondness for the bees, my dad has decided to forgo the use of Roundup on the big area adjacent to the apiary, instead using the old-fashioned spade and less old-fashioned mower.

And about the feeding, this was the first day that I noticed any syrup left in the feeder. In forty hours only a litre of syrup had been taken, leaving about 300ml, suggesting that topping them up every other day is about right.

Feed givenWeather
C11.3l 2:119°C ☁