Thursday, April 30, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 30th April 2015

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

There is more news this week of the effects of neonicotinoids on bees. A new study has shown that it is not only honey bees that are affected by these chemicals but also wild bee populations, including bumble bees and solitary bees.

There have been two studies, both published in the journal Nature, one of which shows that bees can become addicted to neonicotinoids just like humans become addicted to nicotine. The other study, the first to be conducted ‘in the field’, showed a dramatic effect on wild bees with populations being halved around fields treated with the chemicals.

The first study, conducted by Newcastle University, showed that bees preferred sugar solution containing imidaclopid and thiamethoxam, the principle neonicotinoids, suggesting that they had become hooked on the chemicals and would therefore not be able to avoid crops treated with them.

In the second study, conducted by scientists from Lund University in Sweden, it was discovered that bumble bee hives stopped growing and produced fewer queens when the chemicals were present. Further research was required regarding honey bees.

A bee expert at Sussex University, who was not involved in the research, has labelled the studies as ‘hugely significant’. It is no longer credible to say that the use of neonicotinoids does not harm wild bees.

It is amazing that the Crop Protection Association, speaking for the producers of the chemicals, still continues to maintain its stance that spraying crops with these pesticides is harmless to bees.

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