Tag: pesticides

EPA backs away from protecting pollinators

Biologists have been trying to figure out why bee colonies are in decline, and the latest research is pointing directly to pesticides as the main cause. Click the pic to learn more.
Bees are taking a big hit from neonicotinoid pesticides, and the EPA isn’t going to be much help. @bberwyn photo.

Proposed restrictions become voluntary guidelines

Staff Report

Multiple studies have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides are having all sorts of negative impacts on bees, from killing their brain cells, to causing queen bees to lay fewer eggs. Now, the EPA has acknowledged that science, but is still failing to take action to protect critical pollinators, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The nonprofit watchdog group says the EPA is giving in to industry pressure by failing to restrict use of the dangerous pesticides, “despite broad evidence of their well-established role in alarming declines of pollinators.” Continue reading “EPA backs away from protecting pollinators”

Queen bees exposed to neonicotinoids lay fewer eggs

Systemic pesticides seen to affect hives in various ways

honeybees neonicotinoids
A wild bumblebee foraging for pollen. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

A new study led by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln entomologist reinforces the link between neonicotinoid pesticides and declining honeybee colonies. The researchers experimentally fed queen bees with a syrup laced with imidacloprid, finding that queens laid significantly fewer eggs than queens in unexposed colonies.

“The queens are of particular importance because they’re the only reproductive individual laying eggs in the colony,” said lead author Judy Wu-Smart, assistant professor of entomology. “One queen can lay up to 1,000 eggs a day. If her ability to lay eggs is reduced, that is a subtle effect that isn’t (immediately) noticeable but translates to really dramatic consequences for the colony.” Continue reading “Queen bees exposed to neonicotinoids lay fewer eggs”

Neonicotinoid pesticides implicated in decline of wild bees across the UK

New study helps explain bee die-offs

bees and neonicotinoids
A new study in the UK once again links declining wild bee populations with exposure to systemic neonicotinoid pesticides. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Researchers with the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have released a new study linking neonicotinoid pesticides with a long-term decline of wild bee species.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, analyzed changes in the population of 62 wild bee species, comparing them with patters of oilseed rape crops between 1994 and 2011, as the use of commercial use of neonicotinoids became widespread.

The findings suggest that systemic pesticides contributed to a “large-scale and long-term decline” in wild bee species distributions and communities. Species that regularly forage on treated rape fields declined, on average, three times as much as species that feed on a wider variety of plants, showing that oilseed rape is a principle mechanism of neonicotinoid exposure among wild bee communities. Continue reading “Neonicotinoid pesticides implicated in decline of wild bees across the UK”

Environment: Are pesticides making bumblebees dumber?

Bumblebee butt and thistle.
Bumblebees may struggle to navigate wild flowers after exposure to pesticides. @bberwyn photo.

Study shows even low levels of neonicotinoids affect foraging skills

Staff Report

There’s more evidence showing how exposure to pesticides affects bumblebees. In anew study, scientists found that low levels of pesticides can affect which flowers bumblebees choose and potentially hindering their ability to forage for nectar and pollen.

The findings were published in the journal Functional Ecology and will help inform the use of pesticides in agriculture. The research is important because bees and other insects pollinate many of the world’s important food crops and wild plants. But pollinators are declining due to a variety of causes, showing the need for more research and safeguards. Continue reading “Environment: Are pesticides making bumblebees dumber?”

Report says EPA, USDA must do more to protect wild bees

Bad for bees, bad for people? @bberwyn photo.
GAO report says EPA can do more to protect native bees from pesticides. @bberwyn photo.

Government Accountability Office highlights needs for more research on pesticide impacts

Staff Report

U.S. government investigators said the EPA and the Department of Agriculture need to take more steps to address threats to wild bee populations, starting with a better monitoring program to assess the impacts of agricultural pesticides.

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the USDA has failed to live up to a May 2015 mandate from the White House to monitor the health of native bee colonies. North America is home to more than 4,000 species of native bees. Continue reading “Report says EPA, USDA must do more to protect wild bees”

Is the USDA suppressing science on pesticide impacts?

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Is the U.S. Department of Agriculture silencing scientists who speak openly about how neonicotinoid pesticides are harming pollinators? @bberwyn photo.

Activist groups claims scientists are being silenced and harassed; new petition calls for resignations

By Bob Berwyn

A broad coalition of food safety, consumer, and environmental groups is pressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come clean on its research into the environmental impacts of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

According to a petition being delivered to the USDA on March 10, high-level officials in the USDA have been censoring their agency’s own scientific reports when the findings don’t align with the interests of the pesticide industry. The groups also say the USDA is silencing and harassing scientists who are warning of the dangers of neonicotinoids. Continue reading “Is the USDA suppressing science on pesticide impacts?”

Neonicotinoid pesticide impacts extend to wild bees

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Study tracks neonicotinoid pesticide exposure in wild bee populations. @bberwyn photo.

Are native bees at risk from systemic pesticides?

Staff Report

Native wild bees are being exposed to toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research in northeastern Colorado.

The research focused on native bees because there is limited information on their exposure to pesticides. In fact, little is known about how toxic these pesticides are to native bee species at the levels detected in the environment.

“We found that the presence and proximity of nearby agricultural fields was an important factor resulting in the exposure of native bees to pesticides,” said USGS scientist Michelle Hladik, the report’s lead author. “Pesticides were detected in the bees caught in grasslands with no known direct pesticide applications.” Continue reading “Neonicotinoid pesticide impacts extend to wild bees”