Neonics hinder bees' ability to fend off deadly mites

A University of Guelph study is the first to uncover the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees' ability to groom and rid themselves of deadly mites. The research comes as Health Canada places new limits on the use of three key neonicotinoids while it decides whether to impose a full phase-out of the chemicals. Published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, the study revealed that when honey bees are infected with varroa mites and then regularly exposed to low doses of a commonly used neonicotinoid called clothianidin, their self-grooming behaviour drops off.

Disappearing bumblebee species under threat of extinction

The American Bumblebee—a species once more commonly seen buzzing around Southern Ontario—is critically endangered, according to a new study led by York University. The finding, published in Journal of Insect Conservation, found the native North American species, Bombus pensylvanicus, is facing imminent extinction from Canada, considered the highest and most at-risk classification before extinction.

Ecological risk assessment of neonicotinoid insecticides along the east coast of China

In the past two decades, neonicotinoid insecticides have been widely used in agricultural activities in China. Many previous studies have investigated the neonicotinoid pollution in aquatic ecosystems, but the status of water safety of neonicotinoid uses in China is very scarce. The present study aims to reveal the spatial and temporal distribution of neonicotinoids in rivers, and then evaluate the ecological risks to aquatic animals.

More than 90% of soil on Swiss organic farms is contaminated with neonicotinoids

Researchers at the University of Neuchâtel measured the concentrations of five neonicotinoid insecticides in 702 soil and plant samples from 169 cultivated fields and 62 Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) across Switzerland’s lowland areas – EFA are areas set aside to improve the environment or climate. Organic farms, EFAs and organic seeds are supposed to be free of these pesticides. However, traces of least one of the five neonicotinoids were found in 93% of organic soils and crops and in more than 80% of EFA soils and plants.

Pesticide Marketed as Safe for Bees Harms Them in Study

A pesticide used to control aphids and whiteflies called flupyradifurone, sold commercially as Sivanto, harms or even kills honey bees (Apis mellifera) when exposed to low doses in combination with a fungicide, according to the results of laboratory experiments published on April 10 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The researchers find that when honey bees encounter both FPF and a commonly used fungicide, propiconazole (PRO), the effects are worse than FPF alone.

Flanders stream so polluted 'water could be used as pesticide'

Winding between green meadows in the west Flanders countryside, the Wulfdambeek stream is fondly remembered as a place local boys would fill up their water bottles before football games. But research from the University of Exeter has offered a sharp reminder of how intensive farming methods are changing the face of the northern European countryside in ways scientists claim are not being properly understood.

More than a dozen wild bee species are declining in Northeastern U.S.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found a dramatic decline of 14 wild bee species that are, among other things, important across the Northeast for the pollination of major local crops like apples, blueberries and cranberries. "We know that wild bees are greatly at risk and not doing well worldwide," said Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences. "This status assessment of wild bees shines a light on the exact species in decline, beside the well-documented bumble bees.

It is hardly possible to protect grassland birds on pesticide-contaminated soil

In this study the presence of 664 pesticides and 21 anti-parasitic drugs was investigated in concentrated feed, manure and soil on 24 Gelderland livestock farms (15 conventional and 9 organic). In the three substrates, 134 different fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and biocides were found in ecologically relevant concentrations. No sample was free of pesticides. A total of 116 different pesticides was found on 16 conventional farms and 71 on 9 organic farms.

Pesticides and antibiotics polluting streams across Europe

Pesticides and antibiotics are polluting streams across Europe, a study has found. Scientists say the contamination is dangerous for wildlife and may increase the development of drug-resistant microbes. More than 100 pesticides and 21 drugs were detected in the 29 waterways analysed in 10 European nations, including the UK. A quarter of the chemicals identified are banned, while half of the streams analysed had at least one pesticide above permitted levels.

Heavy Neonicotinoid Insecticide Contamination Damaging British Rivers

The first analysis of new monitoring data reveals that British freshwaters are heavily contaminated with neonicotinoids. Half of the sites monitored in England exceed chronic pollution limits and two rivers are acutely polluted. Aquatic insects are just as vulnerable to neonicotinoid insecticides as bees and flying insects, yet have not received the same attention because the UK Government has not responded to calls to introduce systematic monitoring.