Pesticide ban is failing to protect suburban bee populations

[This article shows how truly dangerous such pesticides are to sensitive species and even to the future of flowering plants. In the European Union, even after a ban on farming use of neonicotinoids, bees remain under threat from home use. How much greater the peril in the US, where the pesticide lobby and its political agents keep the pesticides flowing freely!]

by Brendan Montague, Ecologist, 25th July 2018

Bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to significant levels of pesticides despite the EU ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops, new research from University of Sussex scientists shows.

While the introduction of new EU restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid chemicals five years ago has reduced exposure of bees living in farmland, the study found that overall more than half of all pollen and nectar samples collected from bee nests in Sussex, Hertfordshire and Scotland between 2013 and 2015 were contaminated.

The study is the first of its kind to highlight the risk to bees in urban areas posed by garden use of pesticides.

Bee-attractive

The scientists at the University of Sussex are urging gardeners to ditch their bug sprays immediately in favour of encouraging natural predators such as ladybirds or lacewings, and the use of physical methods such as hand-removal of pests, and netting or sticky traps.

Dr Beth Nicholls, postdoctoral research fellow in evolution, behaviour and environment at the University of Sussex and the study’s lead author, said: “Our findings suggest that the EU’s recent decision to extend the neonicotinoid moratorium to include all field crops is likely to have a positive effect on bees, relieving some of the stress on our already struggling pollinator populations.

“However, given that bees in suburban gardens appear to remain at risk post-moratorium, further work is needed to understand the sources of neonicotinoid exposure in these areas and to find ways to reduce it.

“Our study indicates that limiting the public sale and use of neonicotinoid-based bug sprays, which are currently unaffected by the moratorium, is needed if we are to protect bee populations living in and around our towns and cities.”…

read more at Ecologist

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