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Insect decline: the biodiversity of the entire world is at stake

Bees and butterflies are experiencing widespread population decline, creating public concern in recent years. Data collected in Germany suggest that it’s not just bees and butterflies at risk: insect populations overall have plummeted by more than 75 percent since 1989. Scientists have known about the population decline for several years. However, they didn’t know how many species were declining, and they didn’t expect it to be happening so fast.

Neonicotinoid insecticides impair foraging behavior, navigation, learning, and memory in honey bees

The decline of pollinators worldwide is of growing concern and has been related to the use of plant protecting chemicals. Most studies have focused on three neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, currently subject to a moratorium in the EU. Here we focus on thiacloprid, a widely used cyano-substituted neonicotinoid thought to be less toxic to honey bees and of which use has increased in the last years. Honey bees (Apis mellifera carnica) were exposed chronically to thiacloprid in the field for several weeks at a sublethal concentration.

Thiamethoxam alters honey bee activity, motor functions, and movement to light

Honey bees provide key ecosystem services. To pollinate and to sustain the colony, workers must walk, climb, and use phototaxis as they move inside and outside the nest. Phototaxis, orientation to light, is linked to sucrose responsiveness and the transition of work from inside to outside the nest, and is also a key component of division of labour. However, the sublethal effects of pesticides on locomotion and movement to light are relatively poorly understood. Thiamethoxam (TMX) is a common neonicotinoid pesticide that bees can consume in nectar and pollen.

UK will back total ban on bee-harming pesticides, Michael Gove reveals

The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed. The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.

Onze landbouwgrond is zo dood als een pier

Het zijn niet alleen insecten en vogels boven de grond die last hebben van bestrijdingsmiddelen. In de bodem waar planten en gewassen groeien, werkt het gif net zo goed. Je hoort weinig over het bodemleven dat zich daar afspeelt. Maar het is essentieel. Miljoenen bacteriën, schimmels en allerlei andere bodemdiertjes, van aaltjes tot regenwormen, zorgen ervoor dat planten voedingsstoffen kunnen opnemen, dat er genoeg lucht in de bodem zit om gewassen te kunnen verbouwen en dat er voldoende gangetjes zijn waardoor de regen kan wegstromen.

Le sulfoxaflor, nouvelle source de risque pour les abeilles

L'enquête qui vient d'être rendue publique par l'UNAF dresse un bilan alarmant concernant les néonicotinoïdes. Cette année encore, plus de 6 millions d'hectares de cultures ont été traités par ces pesticides tueurs d'abeilles. Alors que cinq néonicotinoïdes doivent prochainement être interdits, une autre substance pose problème : le sulfoxaflor. Ce pesticide serait également un néonicotinoïde.

Insect-eating birds decline where bee-killing neonicotinoids are present

In his book, Dutch toxicologist Henk Tennekes (2010) makes the case that the contamination of surface water by neonicotinoids is so widespread in the Netherlands (and possibly elsewhere in Europe), that loss of insect biomass on a continental scale is behind many of the widespread declines that are being seen, be they of marsh birds, heath or meadow birds or even coastal species. This suggests that we should be looking at possible links between neonicotinoid insecticides and birds, not on a farm scale, but in the context of whole watersheds and regions.

Lethal and sublethal effects, and incomplete clearance of ingested imidacloprid in honey bees

A previous study reported by Cresswell et al. (2014) claimed a differential behavioural resilience between spring or summer honey bees (Apis mellifera) and bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) after exposure to syrup contaminated with 125 µg L−1 imidacloprid for 8 days. The authors of that study based their assertion on the lack of body residues and toxic effects in honey bees, whereas bumble bees showed body residues of imidacloprid and impaired locomotion during the exposure. We reproduced the experiments of Cresswell et al.

Le miel d’ici est le plus contaminé aux pesticides

Le miel nord-américain, y compris le miel québécois, est le plus contaminé aux pesticides néonicotinoïdes au monde, d’après une analyse internationale qui s’inquiète des effets cumulatifs sur la santé. Les néonicotinoïdes sont les pesticides les plus répandus au monde. Depuis quelques années, scientifiques et apiculteurs les accusent de décimer les colonies d’abeilles et de menacer la santé humaine. On retrouve des traces de ces substances dans la plupart des fruits et légumes, mais aussi dans les céréales et dans l’eau.

Op mondiaal niveau is door het gebruik van neonicotinoïden een voor insecten giftig landschap ontstaan

Zwitserse onderzoekers hebben 198 honingmonsters van lokale imkers op alle continenten van de wereld, uitgezonderd Antarctica, op de aanwezigheid van neonicotinoïde insecticiden onderzocht. In driekwart van de honing wereldwijd werden resten van ‘bijengif’ gevonden. Het wetenschappelijke tijdschrift Science publiceerde gisteren het Zwitserse onderzoek. Nederlandse experts noemen de uitkomsten schokkend.