The Observer newspaper says :- “the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has decided to waive restrictions on the use of a class of highly dangerous powerful toxins and permit their release on crops. Neonicotinoids have been described as the Novichok of bees: a single teaspoon is sufficient to kill more than a billion, say scientists.”
A Guardian newspaper article:-
“A pesticide which reduces bee populations and was to be used in England’s sugar beet fields this year will not be used after recent cold weather killed off virus-transmitting aphids…..”
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.
Get updates from https://cyrene.co.uk/how-do-chemicals-affect-bees/
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
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.