Neonic pesticide link to long-term wild bee decline
The large-scale, long-term decline in wild bees across England has been linked to the use of neonicotinoid insecticides by a new study.
Over 18 years, researchers analysed bees who forage heavily on oilseed rape, a crop widely treated with “neonics”.
The scientists attribute half of the total decline in wild bees to the use of these chemicals.
Industry sources say the study shows an association, not a cause and effect.
Weighing the evidence
In recent years, several studies, conducted in the lab and in the field, have identified a negative effect on honey bees and bumble bees from the use of neonics.
But few researchers have looked at the long term impacts of these substances.
This new paper examined the impacts on populations of 62 species of wild bees across England over the period from 1994-2011.
They were able to compare the locations of these bees and their changing populations with growing patterns of oilseed rape across England over 18 years.
The amount of this crop being sown has increased significantly over the period of the study, from around 500,000 hectares in 1994 to over 700,000 in 2011READ FULL ARTICLE