Category Archives: Neonicotinoids

No neonicotinoids on 9/10 garden centre plants

Nine of the top 10 leading garden retailers and garden centres don’t want the flowering plants they sell to be grown with bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides and have told suppliers not to use them, a Friends of the Earth survey  reveals.

However, one of the biggest garden retailers – Homebase – has yet to commit to working with suppliers to end the use of restricted neonicotinoids, despite being contacted by thousands of people via a Friends of the Earth online action ….

https://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/homebase-urged-act-after-most-top-garden-retailers-say-no-bee-harming

New Research Shows Risk to Bumblebee Extinction

THE GOVERNMENT MUST BAN BEE-HARMING PESTICIDES AS NEW RESEARCH SHOWS RISK TO BUMBLEBEE EXTINCTION

The government must act to permanently ban bee-harming pesticides says
Friends of the Earth as new research from Royal Holloway University suggests that neonicotinoid pesticides pose a risk of bumblebee extinction.

The research showed that queen bees exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides were
26% less likely to be able to start a new colony.

Friends of the Earth is urging the UK government to back moves in the EU to
permanently extend current neonicotinoid restrictions to all crops – and
commit to keeping any ban post-Brexit.

Responding to the research, Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth nature
campaigner, said:

“This new study comes hot on the heels of the largest field trials of
neonicotinoids showing harm to honey bees and wild bees. It also follows
new evidence of how these pesticides leak into the environment and turn up in
wildflowers posing further risk to bees.

“It is clear that use of these chemicals on any crop poses a risk to bees
and other wildlife. The Government has repeatedly said it will follow the
science – how much more science does it need before it acts to protect our
precious bees?

“Michael Gove must put his support behind a comprehensive ban on
neonicotinoid pesticides across the EU and continue the ban in the UK
post-Brexit”


*Editor’s notes:*

1) Bumblebees are less able to start colonies when exposed to a common
neonicotinoid pesticide, which could lead to collapses in wild bee
populations, according to new research [1] in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London, and the University of Guelph have found
that exposure to thiamethoxam, a common pesticide, reduced the chances of
a bumblebee queen starting a new colony by more than a quarter.

2) In June 2017 a pan-European field study was published [2] providing
evidence that neonicotinoids harm honeybees and wild bees. Covering a
crop area equivalent to 3,000 football pitches, it was the biggest yet
real-world study of these pesticides. Undertaken in the UK, Germany and
Hungary, the experiment found : Increasing levels of neonicotinoid
residues in the nests of wild bee species was linked with lower
reproductive success across all three countries; Exposure to treated
crops reduced overwintering success of honeybee colonies – a key
measure of year-to-year viability – in the UK and Hungary.

3) Another study [3] this year, carried out on corn farms in Canada, found
crops were not the main source of neonicotinoids to which bees were
exposed. Instead, the contaminated pollen came from wildflowers, as has
also been shown in the UK. Nadia Tsvetkov, at York University in Canada
and who led the research said that “This indicates that neonicotinoids,
which are water soluble, spill over from fields into the surrounding
environment, where they are taken up by other plants that are very
attractive to bees”.


[1] http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0260-1

[2]https://www.ceh.ac.uk/news-and-media/news/neonicotinoid-pesticides-harm-honeybees-wild-bees-first-pan-european-field-study

[3] http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6345/1395

Plants on sale to the public are a significant source of pesticides

Ornamental plants on sale to the public are a significant source of pesticide residues with implications for the health of pollinating insects
Lentola, A, David, A, Abdul-Sada, A, Tapparo, A, Goulson, D and Hill, E M (2017) Ornamental plants on sale to the public are a significant source of pesticide residues with implications for the health of pollinating insects. Environmental Pollution, 228. pp. 297-304. ISSN 0269-7491

http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/67224/

Garden centres frequently market nectar- and pollen-rich ornamental plants as “pollinator-friendly”, however these plants are often treated with pesticides during their production. There is little information on the nature of pesticide residues present at the point of purchase and whether these plants may actually pose a threat to, rather than benefit, the health of pollinating insects.

Using mass spectrometry analyses, this study screened leaves from 29 different ‘bee-friendly’ plants for 8 insecticides and 16 fungicides commonly used in ornamental production. Only two plants (a Narcissus and a Salvia variety) did not contain any pesticide and 23 plants contained more than one pesticide, with some species containing mixtures of 7 (Ageratum houstonianum) and 10 (Erica carnea) different agrochemicals. Neonicotinoid insecticides were detected in more than 70% of the analysed plants, and chlorpyrifos and pyrethroid insecticides were found in 10% and 7% of plants respectively. Boscalid, spiroxamine and DMI-fungicides were detected in 40% of plants.

Pollen samples collected from 18 different plants contained a total of 13 different pesticides. Systemic compounds were detected in pollen samples at similar concentrations to those in leaves. However, some contact (chlorpyrifos) and localised penetrant pesticides (iprodione, pyroclastrobin and prochloraz) were also detected in pollen, likely arising from direct contamination during spraying. The neonicotinoids thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid and the organophosphate chlorpyrifos were present in pollen at concentrations between 6.9 and 81 ng/g and at levels that overlap with those known to cause harm to bees.

The net effect on pollinators of buying plants that are a rich source of forage for them but simultaneously risk exposing them to a cocktail of pesticides is not clear. Gardeners who wish to gain the benefits without the risks should seek uncontaminated plants by growing their own from seed, plant-swapping or by buying plants from an organic nursery.


http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/garden-centres-selling-bee-friendly-plants-pesticides-harmful-neonicotinoids-a7734516.html


https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/encourage-wildlife-to-your-garden/plants-for-pollinators


 

BBC report – Pesticide ‘reduces bumblebee queen egg development’

“Use of a common pesticide in spring could have an impact on wild bumblebees by interfering with their life cycle, a UK study suggests.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39783990

The team, who looked at wild bumblebees caught in the English countryside, say the insecticide, thiamethoxam, reduces egg development in queen bees.

They say this is likely to reduce bee populations later in the year.

Thiamethoxam is one of three neonicotinoid insecticides currently restricted for use by the EU.They have been restricted amid concerns about their impact on wild bees.

The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society – B, investigated the impact of thiamethoxam on four species of bumblebee queen which had been captured in the wild in spring.”

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1854/20170123

New evidence on neonicotinoid pesticides

The Independent newspaper reports on new evidence showing a ‘strong case’ for ban on chemicals linked to bird and bee deaths.

Scientists say the EU should consider extending a partial ban on the use of neonicotinoids amid evidence they are lethal to partridges and can stop house sparrows from flying.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/pesticides-ban-evidence-death-birds-bees-grows-stronger-agriculture-partial-report-a7522391.html

Pesticide restrictions must be extended to wheat – Friends of the Earth report

Current EU restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides must be extended to wheat to protect bees and other wildlife, Friends of the Earth warns today (Thursday 5 January 2017) in a new report published at the Oxford Real Farming Conference.

Three neonicotinoid pesticides were banned on flowering crops in December 2013 after scientists concluded they posed a ”high acute risk” to honey bees when used on crops attractive to them. But these chemicals can still be used on other crops.
One of the restricted neonicotinoids (clothianidin) is widely used on wheat. In 2014 it was used on over 700,000 ha of wheat in the UK. This is greater than the total area of oilseed rape – a crop which is covered by the restrictions.

https://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/bees-pesticide-restrictions-must-be-extended-wheat-new-friends-earth-report

Summary of studies of the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides

Prof. Dave Goulson of Sussex University gives a response to the Society of Chemical Industry meeting in London to discuss “Are neonicotinoids killing bees?”

He gives a summary of what is know of the effect of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees,
particularly on bumblebees and other wild bees that are important pollinators of crops and
wildflowers.  In the UK, honeybees contribute no more than ~30% of crop pollination, the rest coming from wild insects.

http://splash.sussex.ac.uk/blog/for/dg229/2016/10/14/will-the-uk-retain-the-neonicotinoid-moratorium-postbrexit

France moves toward full ban on pesticides blamed for harming bees – Reuters Report

French lawmakers approved plans for a total ban on some widely used pesticides blamed for harming bees, going beyond European Union restrictions in a fierce debate that has pitched farmers and chemical firms against beekeepers and green groups.

The EU limited the use of neonicotinoid chemicals, produced by companies including Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, two years ago after research pointed to risks for bees, which play a crucial role pollinating crops.

Crop chemical makers say the research blaming neonicotinoid pesticides is not backed up by field evidence and a global plunge in bee numbers in recent years is a complex phenomenon due to multiple factors.

The outright ban on neonicotinoid pesticides was adopted by a narrow majority late on Thursday by France’s National Assembly, as part of a draft bill on biodiversity that also contains an additional tax on palm oil.

The measure, however, would not come into effect until Sept. 1, 2018, later than the January 2017 deadline previously proposed by some lawmakers.

The proposed neonicotinoid ban still needs to be pass before the French Senate, which rejected it in a previous reading, before a final vote in the National Assembly expected in the middle of the year.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-pesticides-idUSKCN0WK1KL

EU scientists begin review of ban on pesticides linked to bee declines

The Guardian newspaper reports that “risk evaluation could pave the way for a rolling back of the hard won EU-wide ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides

The European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) has begun a review that could pave the way for rolling back a pioneering EU-wide ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides, that are thought to have ravaged European bee populations.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/07/eu-scientists-begin-review-ban-pesticides-linked-bee-declines

Parliamentary Neonic debates – Buglife reports.

Forty-two MPs spoke at a Parliamentary debate – confirming the huge public concern about neonicotinoid pesticides and bees.  Some MPs stated that the have received as much, or more, correspondence on this issue than on the question of bombing Syria.  The debate was secured via a Parliamentary petition with 90,000 signatures asking the Government to “Please ban the use of neonics on crops”.  Many MPs highlighted new evidence showing that neonics kill bees, suppress populations of solitary and bumblebees, are linked to butterfly declines and are turning up in highly toxic levels in wild flowers, streams, ditches and ponds.

Overall the debate reflected the deep public concern about this issue, the mood was clear – bees should be safe from pesticide harm, and it was another reminder that serious action is needed to reverse pollinator declines.

https://www.buglife.org.uk/blog/matt-shardlow-ceo/democracy-evidence-neonics-oilseed-rape-and-bees

https://www.buglife.org.uk/blog/matt-shardlow-ceo/will-liz-truss-help-lifting-bees-out-of-the-toxic-mire