Study finds link between neonic pesticides and decline of bumblebee queens

A widely used pesticide harms bumblebee queens’ abilities to feed and reproduce, reducing the survival prospects for the pollinators that play a key role in food production, a new study co-authored by a University of Guelph professor shows. The research is the first on how queen bumblebees react to neonicotinoids, a class of insecticide used in agriculture, horticulture and flea treatment for pets. Declines in insect pollinators, including bees and butterflies, have been linked to neonicotinoids, in addition to loss of habitat, disease and climate change.

Bird populations in steep decline in North America

North America has more than a billion fewer birds than it did 40 years ago, with the snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) and the chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica) just two of the better-known species in dramatic decline across the continent, a recent survey has found. The total number of continental landbirds stands at about 10 billion, down from about 11.5 billion in 1970.

Insektensterben und die Folgen

Die Folgen des Insektensterbens sind schon heute zu spüren. Ein europäisches Forschungsprojekt zeigt, dass viele Wildblumenarten vom Aussterben bedroht sind. Denn fast 90 Prozent der Wildblumen sind von der Bestäubung durch Insekten abhängig. Weltweit könnten sich 75 Prozent unserer Nutzpflanzen ohne Bestäubung durch Insekten nicht fortpflanzen. Ohne Insekten fehlt zudem ein wichtiger Bestandteil der Nahrungskette für Fische und Vögel.

Pesticides affect pheasant abundance in California

Based on count data compiled from Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) from 1974 to 2012, Christmas Bird Count (CBC) collected from 1914 to 2013, and hunter data from Annual Game Take Survey (AGTS) for years 1948–2010, ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) in California have experienced substantial declines in agricultural environments. An additional analysis using a restricted data set (1990–2013) indicated recent negative impacts on pheasant numbers associated with land use practices were also associated with relatively high levels of pesticide application.

Schmetterlingssterben in Deutschland setzt sich fort

Immer mehr Schmetterlingsarten in Deutschland sterben einer Studie zufolge aus. Aktuell gelten 53 Arten als verloren, 106 sind demnach vom Aussterben gefährdet, wie aus der für die Grünen-Bundestagsfraktion erstellten Untersuchung hervorgeht, die der Nachrichtenagentur AFP am Freitag vorlag. Bundesweit vom Aussterben bedroht ist demnach etwa der Eschen-Scheckenfalter, auch Maivogel oder Kleiner Maivogel genannt. Bei den Tagfaltern sind dem Papier zufolge bundesweit 41,5 Prozent der bekannten 184 Arten bereits ausgestorben oder bestandsgefährdet.

Neonicotinoid insecticides can persist in water for a long time and are disrupting the food chain for wildlife

Studies on the risks of neonicotinoids have often focused on bees — pollinators vital to farm production that have been experiencing population declines — but “it’s really not just about bees,” said Christy Morrissey, a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan.

Stichproben in kleinen Gewässern am Bodensee haben eine alarmierende Artenarmut ergeben

Damit hatte niemand gerechnet: Die Artenvielfalt in kleineren Gewässern am Bodensee scheint sehr gering zu sein. Irmtraud Schuster, die Umweltdezernentin des Landratsamtes Bodenseekreis, räumt ein, dass die Ergebnisse erster Prüfungen sie schon alarmiert hätten. Doch habe das Institut für Seenforschung nur Stichproben gezogen und lediglich – den allerdings wichtigen – Bereich der wirbellosen bodenlebenden Tiere untersucht. Ursache könnten Pflanzenschutzmittel sein, die aus dem Obstbau in die Bäche getragen werden.

Neurobehavioral Effects Found in Children Exposed to Flower Pesticides

Ecuador is the third largest producer of cut flowers in the world, primarily roses, many of which are destined to be sold for Mother’s Day. The industry employs more than 103,000 people, and relies heavily on agricultural pesticides. In a paper published in the May 2017 issue of the journal NeuroToxicology, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Ecuador and Minnesota, have found altered short-term neurological behaviors in children associated with a peak pesticide spraying season linked to the Mother’s Day flower harvest.

Where have all the insects gone?

Entomologists call it the windshield phenomenon. "If you talk to people, they have a gut feeling. They remember how insects used to smash on your windscreen," says Wolfgang Wägele, director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany. Today, drivers spend less time scraping and scrubbing. "I'm a very data-driven person," says Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Oregon. "But it is a visceral reaction when you realize you don't see that mess anymore."

'Dramatic' decline in European birds linked to industrial agriculture

The number of birds in Germany and Europe has dropped significantly over the past 30 years, according to the German government. In Germany, one-third of all bird species have seen "significant population declines" since the end of the 1990s, said the government in response to a question about the plight of birds across Europe put forward by the Greens. "The situation of birds is dramatic," said Steffi Lemke, a German Green Party lawmaker.