Bumblebees and Neonic Pesticides

Here’s an article from the i newspaper by Steve Connor:

“A widely used pesticide poses a “substantial risk” and “sizeable hazard” to wild bees according to two independent studies into the effects of the controversial neonicotinoid insecticides.

The largest outdoor field trial yet into “neonics” has found that the pesticide has a significant impact on the ability fo wild bumblebees to form colonies.

A separate laboratory study discovered that bumblebees cannot taste neonicotinoids in a sugar solution and so are unable to avoid the pesticide. The scientists also found that bumblebees seem to prefer toxin-laced nectar, possibly due to drug-like effects on the insect’s brain.

“Bees can’t taste neonicotinoids in their food and therefore do not avoid these pesticides,” said Professor Geraldine Wright of Newcastle University, who led the study, published in Nature. “We now have evidence bees prefer to eat pesticide-contaminated food.”

The EU ordered a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids for flowering crops 2 years ago. The UK government however, has taken a more relaxed view. ”

“Relaxed” is an interesting word in this context, isn’t it?

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