The European Commission voted to ban neonicotinoid pesticides linked to declining bee populations, despite opposition from several EU member states. Following a failed vote in March, 15 countries voted for the ban last week, short of the qualified majority needed. However, under EU rules the Commission now has the option of imposing a two-year restriction on the pesticides, which it says it plans to do by December of this year. Meanwhile, a study released last week indicated that imidacloprid, the world's most commonly used insecticide, may be causing a decline in invertebrate water-based species. The study found 70% fewer invertebrate species in water polluted with the pesticide than in clean water and determined that safety levels for the pesticide are routinely breached, killing mayflies, midges and mollusks, as well as bird species that depend on them for food. Jeroen van der Sluijs, a researcher at Utrecht University, called for the substance to be phased out as soon as possible. He also said that about half of the pesticide produced each year is not affected by the EU ban, as it is used to combat pests in cattle, cats, and dogs. For the story on the ban, see For the story on the pesticide study, see Earlier: