Systemic pesticides seen to affect hives in various ways
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”→
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”→
Study shows even low levels of neonicotinoids affect foraging skills
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?”→
Government Accountability Office highlights needs for more research on pesticide impacts
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.
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?”→
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”→