Increasing neonicotinoid use and the declining butterfly fauna of lowland California

The butterfly fauna of lowland Northern California has exhibited a marked decline in recent years that previous studies have attributed in part to altered climatic conditions and changes in land use. Here we ask if a shift in insecticide use towards neonicotinoids is associated with butterfly declines at four sites in the region that have been monitored for four decades. A negative association between butterfly populations and increasing neonicotinoid application is detectable while controlling for land use and other factors, and appears to be more severe for smaller-bodied species.

A bumblebee fighting for survival against the odds

The rusty patched bumble bee population has finally reached endangered levels. On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the bees be classified as an endangered species—the first wild bee species in the continental U.S. to be formally recommended for federal protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, according to Reuters. The bees, scientifically known as Bombus affinis, are nicknamed for the red blotch on their abdomen.

Where have all the insects gone?

I miss seeing the back end of a bug. This summer I sensed a disturbance of some sort. There were hardly any ladybirds, almost no butterflies (only the odd cabbage white) and barely a wasp. Very, very odd. I noticed early on that the orchard would crop moderately (as opposed to well); I put this down to the slow spring and accompanying lack of pollinators.

No more whinchats on the Somerset Levels

Some birds pop up when you least expect it. On August bank holiday I went for a walk to my coastal patch, along with assorted relatives and a very boisterous dog. Bird-wise, apart from a high-tide roost of a thousand redshanks along the river Brue, things were relatively uneventful. But as we were strolling back to the car, a small bird flew up onto a protruding twig along a hedgerow, and posed in a way that made its identity virtually certain. A glance through my binoculars confirmed that it was indeed a whinchat (Saxicola rubetra).

Bird populations in steep decline in North America, study finds

North America has more than a billion fewer birds than it did 40 years ago, with the snowy owl and the chimney swift just two of the better-known species in dramatic decline across the continent, a recent survey has found. The total number of continental landbirds stands at about 10 billion, down from about 11.5 billion in 1970. The study’s authors – a range of academic, activist and government bodies in Canada and the United States – list 86 of North America’s roughly 450 breeding species as vulnerable, with some populations expected to be halved in a matter of decades.

Hawaii’s Honeycreepers Are in Serious Trouble

From ocean beach to mountain top, Hawaii was once full of birds, but populations went into decline beginning in the late 19th century. While ornithologists were cautiously optimistic that native birds might be able to recover, a new report suggests some of Hawaii’s most famous native birds may be on the verge of extinction—and a harbinger for worse things to come. The rare Hawaiian honeycreepers are among the most varied bird families around, a consequence of what’s called adaptive radiation, the same process that produced Darwin’s famously diverse finches.

Kauai Island forest birds at tipping point toward extinction

A new study documents the dramatic decline of most native forest birds on Kauai Island, with the implication that several species face extinction in coming decades if current rates of decline continue. On Kauai Island, researchers have conducted forest bird surveys at high elevation sites over the last 30 years to understand population changes over time.

Pesticides may hurt many songbirds by eliminating or poisoning the insects they eat

When I started with Save Our Seine, I was surprised by an unusual topic on every board agenda: "Things we have learned from nature." With recent news about mosquitoes, malathion, and the cosmetic use of herbicides, I would like to share things I learned from nature in 1981 that had a profound impact on me. Manitoba was in the midst of an outbreak of western equine encephalitis (WEE). Like West Nile virus, WEE is spread by infected mosquitoes. A DC-6 aircraft was brought in to quickly blanket the city with Baygon to reduce the mosquito population.

Butterflies among wildlife feeling effect of insecticides

Butterflies have joined the ranks of honeybees, bumblebees, moths and other insects that may be feeling the effects of the controversial neonicitinoid insecticides. UK researchers have found that even insects which do not pollinate oilseed rape may be harmed by the chemicals. Neonicotinoids - or neonics for short - are insecticides similar to nicotine, acting on the central nervous system to paralyse insects. One of them, imidacloprid, is the most widely used insecticide in the world.

Graham White's presentation to the American Beekeepers Federation in 2014

Attached is a PDF slideshow, of the Keynote/ Powerpoint the British environmentalist and beekeeper Graham White presented in California to the American Beekeepers Federation in 2014. He also gave the same slideshow and talk to the directors of the Sierra Club - the most influential environmental NGO in the USA. This was presented as a Webcast from the Pesticide Research Institute in Berkeley to several hundred beekeepers who logged in to their website from all over the States.