Some novel research has linked neonicotinoid insecticides with falling wild bee populations across England.
Oilseed rape crops whose seeds have been treated with neonicotinoids have been linked with fluctuations in wild bee populations. The region most affected by this is the England countryside.
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The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
The scientists gathered extensive data records and studied changes in 62 wild bee species. Oilseed rape cropping trends were also taken into consideration.
The years which were taken into account ranged from 1994 to 2011. This was the period when widespread usage of neonicotinoids began in earnest.
The evidence was clear as the light of day. The use of these deadly insecticides was linked with declining wild bee populations. This decline was three times more pronounced among the wild bees that gathered nectar and pollen from the neonicotinoid-treated crops.
These included the Buff-tailed bumblebee. When you compare this with those species that feed upon flowers instead, you get the idea since they don’t have the same issues as the neonicotinoid-consuming bees. Neonicotinoids are a type of insecticide that is applied to seeds before they are planted in the soil.
The potent part of neonicotinoids cause a range of problems when the seeds become full-fledged plants. That is if they are ingested by plant pollinators such as bees which feed on the pollen and nectar found in the plants.
This research only goes on to corroborate the previous small-scale findings regarding neonicotinoids. Honeybees and wild bees both tend to be negatively affected by neonicotinoids.
At least five of the bee species (which included in its repertoire, the spined mason bee and the furrow bee) faced an extinction of 20% of their populations after exposure to neonicotinoids.
Therefore one thing which is for sure is that neonicotinoid usage is associated with wild bee community losses on a countrywide level. This in turn has consequences for bee conservation.
All in all, there is an extensive archive of data that proves once and for all that neonicotinoids ought not to be used and that substitute chemicals ought to be found instead.
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Oilseed rape is a crop that is good for pollinating insects. Yet when you add these insecticides to the equation, things change. Therefore care must be taken lest we lose the one classic pollinating species we have at our disposal and that is bees.