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. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. The most commonly used to control weeds and pests are Bayer and Ortho products. The findings add to a long-standing list of concerns about these critical creatures that pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90 per cent of the world.


Intensification for redesigned and sustainable agricultural systems

Science

In the mid-20th century, food production from agriculture sharply increased worldwide; however, this was achieved through heavy use of agrochemicals. Extensive collateral damage from excessive use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers has occurred to the wider environment. This has led to biodiversity loss, pesticide resistance and the emergence of new pests, pollution and decline of freshwater supplies, and soil degradation and erosion, as well as direct harm to health. In a Review, Pretty examines the alternative approaches that can achieve sustainable intensification of farming systems by integrating pest management with agroecological systems to minimize costs, maximize yields, restore ecosystem services, and ensure environmental enhancement. The mid-20th century brought agricultural transformation and the "Green Revolution." New crop varieties and livestock breeds--combined with increased use of inorganic fertilizers, manufactured pesticides, and machinery--led to sharp increases in food production from agriculture worldwide. Yet this period of agricultural intensification was accompanied by considerable harm to the environment. This imposed costs on economies and made agricultural systems less efficient by degrading ecosystem goods and services. The desire for agriculture to produce more food without environmental harm, and even to make positive contributions to natural and social capital, has been reflected in many calls for more sustainable agriculture. Sustainable intensification (SI) comprises agricultural processes or systems in which production is maintained or increased while progressing toward substantial enhancement of environmental outcomes.


Don't feed the ducks with bread as it pollutes waterways and attracts rats

Daily Mail - Science & tech

It might seem like the most harmless of pleasures – and helpful too. But not only is feeding bread to ducks like giving them junk food, it also pollutes waterways, encourages harmful algae and attracts rats, according to a charity. Throwing bread into canals and rivers also leads to overcrowding of bird populations as they flock to popular locations'in search of their starchy treat'. The Canal and River Trust warned that feeding ducks with bread was polluting Britain's waterways The Canal and River Trust said hundreds of thousands of ducks need the public's help to supplement their natural food sources as winter approaches. But it recommended defrosted frozen peas, corn and chopped-up leftover vegetables as healthier than bread.


Tech-savvy Chinese farmers use drones to spray pesticide

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Farmers in China have caught up with the country's booming drone trend and started using unmanned aircraft to spray pesticide onto the fields. Not only that, a team of villagers in central China recently bought 30 of these bug-zapping vehicles in hope of turning it into a new business. Zhu Xiwang and his neighbours said they hoped their squad of agri-drones to could help them start a pest-killing service, according to Huanqiu.com, an affiliation to People's Daily Online. This £24.8K flat pack folding home takes just SIX HOURS to build Pictures show the 30 drones lining up on a field, ready to take off. The unmanned aircraft, known by its model name MG-1S, is produced by Shenzhen-based Da Jiang Innovation, one of the largest drone manufacturers in China.