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.”
Farmers need effective alternatives to neonicotinoids that do not harm bees or other beneficial insects. This report looks at evidence and farmer practice in using non-chemical methods of pest control in oilseed rape (OSR).
Our research found that combining a range ofalternative techniques in a genuine Integrated
Pest Management (IPM) approach should enable farmers to significantly improve control of OSR pests without neonicotinoids.
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: –
The Royal Horticultural Society has changed the name of it’s pollinator friendly plant list from “Perfect for Pollinators” to “Plants for Pollinators”. This is because some of the plants on the list contained traces of pesticides. RHS cannot check every supplier of plants so they recommend using an organic plant nusery to avoid plants which have had pesticide treatment.
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
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
The Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership (PMRP) aims to combine improved analyses of long-term records with new systematic survey activity to establish how insect pollinator populations are changing across Great Britain.
We are working with existing recording schemes to improve our understanding of population trend estimates from opportunistic (unstructured) records, and increase their capacity for data flow and record verification.
Two new surveys will be implemented to form a Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS):
1. FIT Count: A simple systematic survey to engage a wider range of volunteers, collecting data on abundance and flower visitation of pollinators to target flower species from a specified list.
2. 1km square surveys: A systematic survey of pollinators and floral resources with a core set of 75 monitoring sites (randomly allocated 1km squares), stratified on cropped and non-cropped land across England, Wales and Scotland. The site network and baseline surveys have been set up by CEH surveyors, and there are now opportunities for volunteer involvement to ‘adopt’ the squares and help carry out the surveys – if you’d like to know more about this please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Bleddyn Lake, from Friends of the Earth Wales has won the annual Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK) ‘Outstanding Leadership’ award which seeks to recognise an individual who has provided outstanding leadership to their organisation or community in pursuit of change.
Bleddyn started working on Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign a few years ago and quickly had success in persuading the Welsh Government to draw up a new Action Plan for Pollinators. As part of this he sits on a Pollinator Taskforce group which was set up to look at all aspects of pollinator health and welfare in Wales.
Bleddyn devised the ‘Bee Friendly’ scheme as a way to engage schools, communities, universities, councils and other public bodies in Wales in a fun way to help protect bees and other pollinators in Wales. To gain Bee Friendly status, all a group has to do is to complete a set of actions to help pollinators from 4 different categories: food, habitat, community involvement and pesticides.
Once accreditation has been granted, the organisation can officially call itself ‘Bee Friendly’ and a network of regionally based volunteer ‘Bee Champions’ has been set up around Wales to help groups get started.
This scheme is the first such national pollinator accreditation scheme of its kind anywhere and is already attracting plenty of interest with many towns, schools and universities already working towards their Bee Friendly status. Some schemes have buzzed in to action very quickly and have already secured their accreditation with Hay on Wye Primary School becoming the first Bee Friendly school in Wales and Swansea becoming the first Bee Friendly University. Conwy Council has led the way amongst Local Authorities and the race is on to become the first Bee Friendly town and city.
“Bee Friendly” is a new initiative aimed at communities and community organisations, schools, public bodies, town and community councils, businesses, universities and colleges, places of worship…….. and many other organisations, all around Wales.
We think it is the first co-ordinated national scheme of its kind and has at its heart – making Wales a Pollinator- Friendly country.
Although the scheme is called Bee Friendly, we want people to take action to help all our pollinators, and not just bees.