More than just bees

argylesock says… manuelinor wrote this a few days after the EU voted to ban neonics. She’s right: neonics are about more than just bees. So are other broad-spectrum insecticides such as fipronil.

Ecology is not a dirty word

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her

William Wordsworth

While I was researching my last piece on the EU’s neonicotinoid ban I came across some quite surprising sentiments. The most unexpected was someone complaining about all “the fuss” over bees.

Of course, the benefits of the ban will not just be for bees. All pollinators are crucial to healthy natural ecosystems and the success of our own food production systems. Bees just happen to be the most productive pollinators, and the most recognisable to us, so they have unwittingly become a symbol for pollinators and beneficial insects in general.

Neonicotinoids obviously also have toxic effects on other insects (that’s why they were created). An important example is mayflies and caddisflies, which are ‘keystone’ indicator species in healthy freshwater ecosystems. They can also cause secondary outbreaks of pest species like mites, because the initial insecticide application killed all the…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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