Researchers discover that neonicotinoid seed treatments are driving a dramatic increase in insecticide toxicity in U.S. agricultural landscapes, despite evidence that these treatments have little to no benefit in many crops….
Report from The Guardian:-
“The Silent Spring prophecy that pesticides could “still the leaping of fish” has been confirmed, according to scientists investigating the collapse of fisheries in Japan. They say similar impacts are likely to have occurred around the world.
The long-term study showed an immediate plunge in insect and plankton numbers in a large lake after the introduction of neonicotinoid pesticides to rice paddies. This was rapidly followed by the collapse of smelt and eel populations, which had been stable for decades but rely on the tiny creatures for food. … ”
Pesticides reduce their egg-laying capabilities
Researchers found 26% of queen bumblebees treated with insecticides, stopped founding new colonies after winter hibernation. This means over a quarter of bumblebee nests are being lost every year, increasing their chances of extinction.
Pesticides affect male bees’ sperm health
Researchers found drones (male honey bees) with neonicotinoid exposure did not have reduced sperm count, but did have reduced sperm viability. Their conclusion finds that pesticides leads to queen honey bees failing to become properly fertilised and leads to premature colony failure.
Glyphosate reduces healthy gut microbiome in honey bees
Glyphosate is a very successful herbicide because it targets an enzyme usually only found in plants. However, gut bacteria in honey bees also contain this enzyme and once affected by glyphosate, increases their susceptibility to infection by disease and other pathogens.
Research has shown glyphosate leads to a weakened immune system in bees, and could be one of the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder.
Fungicides reduce beneficial fungi in Bee Bread
Honey bees use pollen to make what is known as “bee bread”. This is where they collect pollen, then mix it with a bit of nectar and some of their digestive fluids before tightly packing it into their cells where it ferments. Fermentation breaks down proteins into important vitamins such as amino acids, lactic acid, and vitamin K. Honey bees eat this because it is a source of medicine, as pollen comes from a wide range of plant sources – just as we get our vitamins from a wide range of fruit and vegetables.
But fungicide research has shown that it reduces beneficial fungi needed for bee bread fermentation, leading to inferior quality bee bread which reduces their immune system and ironically leads to more fungal disease – such as Chalkbrood.
Neonicotinoid exposure damages bees brains and affects their ability to forage
Researchers have found “rapid mitochondrial depolarization in neurons” in bumblebees exposed to neonicotinoids – meaning the plasma membrane of a muscle or nerve changes in permeability, affecting how cells transmit nerve impulses.
They found that bees suffered poor navigation, which led to poor foraging, which then led to a deficit in colony growth and contributed to bumblebee decline.
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A widespread loss of pollinating insects in recent decades has been revealed by the first national survey in Britain, which scientists say “highlights a fundamental deterioration” in nature.
Strips of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying. Guardian newspaper report:-
“The stripy fields have been planted across England as part of a trial to boost the natural predators of pests that attack cereal crops.
Long strips of bright wildflowers are being planted through crop fields to boost the natural predators of pests and potentially cut pesticide spraying. The strips were planted on 15 large arable farms in central and eastern England last autumn and will be monitored for five years, as part of a trial run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology…. ”
A Guardian newspaper article ,,, “Buying organic food is among the actions people can take to curb the global decline in insects, according to leading scientists. Urging political action to slash pesticide use on conventional farms is another, say environmentalists.”
Bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to significant levels of pesticides despite the EU ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops, new research from University of Sussex scientists shows.
While the introduction of new EU restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid chemicals five years ago has reduced exposure of bees living in farmland, the study found that overall more than half of all pollen and nectar samples collected from bee nests in Sussex, Hertfordshire and Scotland between 2013 and 2015 were contaminated.
Read the press release:- The Pesticide Ban is Failing
The Guardian newspaper reports a study by Royal Holloway University :-
“Bumblebee colonies fare better in villages and cities than in fields, research has revealed.
Bumblebees are important pollinators, but face threats including habitat loss, climate change, pesticide and fungicide use and parasites. Now researchers say that bumblebee colonies in urban areas not only produce more offspring than those on agricultural land, but have more food stores, fewer invasions from parasitic “cuckoo” bumblebees, and survive for longer.
“[The study] is not saying that cities are necessarily the ideal habitat for bees, it is just that they are doing better in the cities than in the countryside,” said Ash Samuelson, a doctoral student and first author of the research from Royal Holloway, University of London.”
Stripes of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying.
The stripy fields have been planted across England as part of a trial to boost the natural predators of pests that attack cereal crops. See the Guardian newspaper report: –
Report in The Guardian newspaper … “The European Union will ban the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees.
The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by member nations on Friday, is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.”
Friends of the Earth Report