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
A report from the European Food Safety Authority published on 28th Feb 2018 gathers together evidence from over 1500 studies and could be a game-changer for bees.
This landmark science review concludes that neonicotinoid pesticides pose a high risk to both honeybees and wild bees.
For the new assessments, which this time cover wild bees – bumblebees and solitary bees – as well as honeybees, EFSA’s Pesticides Unit carried out an extensive data collection exercise, including a systematic literature review, to gather all the scientific evidence published since the previous evaluations.
A set of web links about the effects of insecticides on bees :-
Two new studies add to the mountain of evidence that neonicotinoids are harmful to pollinators (New Scientist)
Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides (The Guardian)
Strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are killing bees (New Scientist)
Would we starve without bees? (BBC)
Attack of the bee killers: Documents show Bayer and Syngenta teamed up with farmers to get around bee-friendly regulation (Politico)
Controversial pesticides can decimate honey bees, large study finds (Science)
Farms could slash pesticide use without losses (The Guardian)
Pesticide Lobby Spends Millions To Defend Chemicals Tied To Bee Deaths (Huffington Post)
Garden centre and retail giant Homebase has announced it will stop using bee-harming pesticides called neonicotinoids.
Homebase has agreed to stop using these chemicals on garden plants. And it will clear its shelves of garden products containing neonicotinoids by the end of 2018.
Report from Friends of the Earth UK:
Some good news in the latest Autumn edition of Butterfly. B & Q have agreed to stop using neonicotinoid pesticides on their flowering plant range from Feb 2018. They have taken note of research showing that neonicotinoids are harming bees and birds and may be contributing to the decline of butterflies as well.
Here’s the link to the relevant Butterfly Conservation webpage.
New research carried out by Dr. Alexandre Aebi from the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland published in the journal Science shows that three quarters of the honey samples found in a world-wide study showed traces of at least one neonicotinoid.
198 honey samples were taken from every continent except Antarctica. One third of the samples contained levels of pesticide that were harmful to bees. However the amounts were well below maximum permitted levels in food for humans. More worryingly a “cocktail effect” of more than one insecticide was found in 45% of the honey samples.
The authors of the study, who believe in operating the precautionary principle, say that a permanent EU-wide ban, as proposed in France, is the best solution. A spokesman for the manufacturers maintained that the results were inconclusive due to the small sample size.
The assumption by regulators around the world that it is safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes is false, according to a chief scientific adviser to the UK government. See The Guardian newspaper report …..