Neonics and bumblebees

Recently there was joy here in Europe when three neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) were banned. The ban covers clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.

Is the ban right? I think so, as you can see under my ‘neonicotinoid’ tag. Not everybody agrees.

A few months before the ban was finalised, the UK’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) reported its research into neonics and a common wild pollinator. That insect is the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). Here’s the FERA report about neonics and B. terrestris.

That FERA report’s quite long isn’t it? For a summary and comment, you could look at what Alistair Driver at the Farmers Guardian told us about that bumblebee study, saying that it could mean that neonics weren’t a serious threat to bees. If you scroll through Mr Driver’s article you’ll see how he reported that some people disagreed.

This week the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said that it stands by the recent decision to ban three neonics.

FERA is part of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It’s well respected but EFSA says that this particular piece of FERA science is weak. Here’s the critique from EFSA. It agrees with critique from the Science Media Centre.

Campaign groups such as Save Our Bees won on neonics in Europe, at least for the next two years. Then the ban will expire. If people stop paying attention, bees will expire too and crops won’t get pollinated.


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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2 Responses to Neonics and bumblebees

  1. theresagreen says:

    Thanks for the link to my blog post. This post is fascinating; I have followed a few of the links and will definitely be back to read more.

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