New pesticides linked to bee population collapse
Friday 30 March 2012
Worldwide declines in bee colonies, threatening much of global agriculture, may be caused by a new generation of nerve-agent pesticides, two new scientific studies strongly suggest. The findings place a massive question mark over the increasingly controversial compounds, now the fastest growing family of insecticides in the world.
Bee declines represent a serious threat to agriculture because bees are the pollinators of a large percentage of crops. Both honey bees and wild bumble bees are seriously harmed by exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides, even by tiny doses not sufficient to kill them outright, the studies by British and French scientists report today.
The British study, carried out by scientists from the University of Stirling, concludes that “there is an urgent need to develop alternatives to the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops wherever possible”.