The Czech Republic opposes the European Union’s plan to prohibit the use of certain pesticides by the end of 2020, with the government claiming the controversial chemicals are the only means the country’s forestry authorities have to deal with an ongoing bark beetle infestation.
Every year, the bark beetle causes more and more damage in Czech forests. To fight the beetle, forestry authorities depend mainly on pesticides. By the end of next year, however, the EU wants to ban the active ingredient used in these chemicals.
As there is no other effective alternative, the Czech Republic, along with other states, is currently negotiating to extend this deadline so that pyrethroids can be used until 2026.
“Currently, the relevant committee in Brussels considers extending the deadline not only for the Czech Republic but for everyone,” said Deputy Minister of Agriculture Patrik Mlynář who is in charge of forestry.
In 2026, according to the ministry’s forecasts, the bark beetle calamity in Central Europe should end or at least weaken. That is why Czechia is asking for an extension to use pyrethroids till that concrete date.
Chemical spraying and insecticide nets are used in the Czech Republic to fight the bark beetle in more than 50 percent of cases. The main reason is that the only other solution, which involves manually removing the bark of afflicted trees, is demanding work and there are not enough people to perform it.
“The lack of staff and the large volume of affected sites are crucial, and therefore chemical remediation offers more effective results,” explained Mlynář.
There is a good chance that the deadline for the pesticide used in forest protection and pest control products will be extended. The bark beetle issue is quite common, and many EU countries such as Germany, are also dealing with infestations. As a result, Germany, a strong player in Europe, could support the extension.
“Larger states are also interested in the use of chemical spraying, however, some ground rules and conditions for their use have to be set. This means that not all active ingredients will be available to everyone, and some will require training on how to handle them,” added Mlynář.