Scores of studies have established that neonicotinoids, the most widely used pesticides in the world, are contributing to the steady decline of bees and other insects across North America and Europe. Now evidence is growing that these compounds, tailored to take out invertebrates, can also harm mammals, birds, and fish, as Elizabeth Royte explains in FERN's latest story, published with National Geographic.(No paywall)
Beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies in the year ending on April 1, the second-highest rate since surveys began in 2006, said the Bee Informed Partnership on Monday. The high annual rate was driven by severe losses last summer among commercial beekeepers, who lost one-third of their …
Four years after an adverse ruling by a federal appeals court, the EPA approved the insecticide sulfoxaflor for use on a wide variety of crops, saying the chemical posed less of a risk to honeybees than previously thought. The law firm that won the 2015 ruling said the EPA decision "to remove restrictions on yet another bee-killing pesticide is nothing short of reckless."
Two Democratic lawmakers unveiled legislation to suspend the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, with the goal of reducing high mortality rates of honeybees and other pollinating species.
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found neonicotinoid insecticides in 74 percent of the water samples they analyzed from 10 major tributaries of the Great Lakes. The insecticides were "detected in every month sampled and five of the six target neonicotinoids were detected." Environmental Health News says the study "suggests the Great Lakes' fish, birds and entire ecosystems might be at risk" from the insecticides that are believed to be a factor in high mortality rates of honeybees.
The New Jersey Agriculture Department says it is balancing the interests of beekeepers and their neighbors in developing statewide honeybee regulations.
German researchers report that lithium chloride “is highly effective” in killing Varroa mites, a parasite commonly listed as one of the major reasons for high mortality among the pollinating insects.
At the University of Nebraska, researchers are experimenting with the agricultural landscape to see if modifications such as windbreaks or cover crops will limit pesticide drift and help bees avoid harmful exposure to the chemicals. Farmers generally plant corn and soybean seeds coated with neonicotinoid insecticides, which can be rubbed off of the seed during planting and land on plants visited by foraging bees, says Harvest Public Media.
Many Americans know that honeybees are threatened by colony collapse disorder, but few of them realize just how many different kinds of bees there are, says a study published in the online edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
A nationwide survey of beekeepers found a smaller loss of honey bee colonies this year than last, said USDA in its annual Honey Bee Colonies report. The USDA report, which gauged the bee inventory are recently as mid-year, was in line with university researchers who reported in May that losses are moderating after steep drops in the population of the important pollinating insects.