Spying on bees reveals pesticides impair social behavior

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Pesticides can impair the behaviour of bumble bees and affect their ability to eat and rear their young, a new study has shown. The research, which allowed humans to take a closer look at the bee in its environment, revealed how the pesticide neonicotinoid can harm its behaviour. The findings add to a long-standing list of concerns about these critical pollinators for that pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90 per cent of the world. The study was published in Science journal and compared the behaviour of bees exposed to pesticides and bees who weren't. Researchers placed cameras inside 12 specially made boxes that contained one chamber for a nest and another chamber for foraging.

Deadly pesticide which destroyed bee populations is also affecting damselflies

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Damselfly populations are being harmed by insecticides as researchers find the wildlife scourge of neonicotinoids continues to grow. Some chemicals in this group have already been banned by the EU but thiacloprid is still in widespread use. Similar chemicals in the neonicotinoid family have already been tied to severe decline in bee populations and now it appears the damage is more widespread. The team exposed caged and free-flying damselflies to realistic concentrations of the chemical in test ditches and found infected animals ate less, were less active and had a slowed reproductive growth rate. It was previously thought to only affect insects that eat the treated crop but Dutch scientists have found it has wider-reaching implications for various pollinators as well.

Why Europe's Insecticide Ban Is Big News for Bees

National Geographic News

The European Union plans to ban the world's most widely used insecticides in an effort to protect bees and other valuable pollinator insects. The ban, approved by member countries Friday, targets insecticide compounds known as neonicotinoids (also called neonics for short). The ban is expected to come into force by the end of the year and will prohibit outdoor use of the chemicals (they may still be used inside greenhouses). Neonics were introduced in the late 1980s as a safer alternative to older insecticides that are more toxic. Yet a growing body of research has pointed to environmental problems with their use.

EU court backs near-total BAN on pesticides that harm bees

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The EU's top court has backed an almost complete European ban on the use of some of the world's most widely used pesticides. These toxic chemicals, known as neonicotinoids, are responsible for plummeting numbers of bees around the world, scientists recently confirmed. Years of research has shown that under controlled conditions the chemicals are toxic to honey bees and bumblebees. They cause brain damage that can affect learning and memory and impair their ability to forage for nectar and pollen. The latest court ruling stated that the the European Commission had been right in 2013 to restrict their use in order to protect bees.

'Bee-safe' pesticide used to replace banned neonics could be accidentally KILLING off the insects

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A widely used pesticide that had been classified as being'bee-safe' may in fact cause the pollinating insects harm when used in tandem with a common fungicide. The pesticide, flupyradifurone, was touted as a better alternative to the controversial and now-restricted neonicotinoid family of chemicals. But researchers have shown that, under certain conditions, it can render bees sluggish and uncoordinated. With solo pesticide approvals not factoring in how treatments can interact, concerns should be raised over the safety of currently approved pesticides, the experts say. A widely used pesticide that had been classified as being'bee-safe' may in fact cause the pollinating insects harm when used in tandem with a common fungicide, rendering bees sluggish and uncoordinated Much controversy has surrounded the use of neonicotinoid pest sprays - which are commonly dubbed'neonics' - after it was demonstrated that they had harmful impacts on bee populations.