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Bumblebees - 'neonics' further evidence.

Bumblebees – ‘neonics’ further evidence.

by Chris ~ 3 September, 2017 ~ comments welcome

Back in 2013, the EU imposed a temporary ban on the use of neonicotinoids on flowering crops.  This was as a result of claims that nicotine related chemicals had a significant effect on the physiology and behaviour of pollinators - particularly honey bees.   The ban remains in place whilst a review of these chemicals takes place.

Further evidence of the effects of neonicotinoids (other than that already reported in the woodlands’ blog) comes from the research work of Professor Raine * (of the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada) and co-workers.  Read more...

Bees, oilseed rape and foraging

Bees, oilseed rape and foraging

by Chris ~ 2 September, 2016 ~ comments welcome

The woodlands' blog has often reported on the problems that face honey bees and bumblebees - our important pollinators (see the list of related blogs in the right hand column on this page). Now there is an important report from the CEH (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) that has looked at the state of the populations of wild bees such as the furrow bee, mason bee.

Most research to date has focused on the effect of insecticides, particularly the neonicotinoids on the  behaviour of  honey bees and bumblebees.   However, the CEH team was able to use data that had been collected by the bees, wasps and ants recording scheme - their data extended back to 1994 and involved some 62 species.   Read more...

Poor pollination and pesticides

Poor pollination and pesticides

by Chris ~ 3 April, 2016 ~ 3 comments

Dr Dara Stanley of New Holloway, University of London has been looking at the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on the ‘efficiency’ of bumblebee pollination of apples.  Several studies have already implicated these pesticides in the decline of foraging behaviour of bees / bumblebees.  As some 30% of agricultural crops depend on pollination by bees and  bumblebees, hover flies and other arthropods (with an estimated global value in excess of $350 billion / year) then the effects of these pesticides needs to be evaluated, so that informed debate on the banning or restriction  of their use can take place.

Dr Stanley and associates exposed some bumblebees to ‘low’ levels of neonicotinoids (such as might be found in wild flowers), others were exposed to no pesticide.  Read more...

The birds and the bees,  insecticides and wildlife

The birds and the bees, insecticides and wildlife

by Lewis ~ 24 November, 2015 ~ one comment

The woodlands' blog has often reported on the problems that bees and bumblebees are facing; these range from habitat loss & fragmentation, changing agricultural practices, parasites (varroa) and viruses, climate change and extreme climate events and the use of pesticides (particularly neonicotinoids).

Now there is evidence accumulating that the decline in various bird species  (sparrows, swallows and tree starlings) can be correlated with the use of insecticides.   A group of researchers from Birdlife (Netherlands), the Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology and Radboud University, Institute of Water and Wetland Research have been studying bird population declines at the turn of the century.  Read more...

Changing moth populations.

Changing moth populations.

by Lewis ~ 5 November, 2015 ~ one comment

Many of the 'headlines' in newspapers etc.  speak about the loss of particular species (e.g. elephants, rhinos) and whilst these are important animals and the reduction in number of any species is a cause for concern, they are not necessarily good indicators of the threats to the millions of species that seemingly pass unnoticed.   In terms of sheer abundance and, indeed,  diversity of form - the arthropods, and particularly the insects are unsurpassed.

In order to know what is happening to our wildlife in general, it is a good idea to take a close look at what is happening to insect populations / species.   Fortunately, this is possible as since Victorian times Read more...

Bees and bumblebees : the threat of extinction.

Bees and bumblebees : the threat of extinction.

by Lewis ~ 11 April, 2015 ~ 7 comments

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) publishes the Red List.   It is a list of species that are under threat in different parts of the world; it goes back to 1964 when it published the ‘list of threatened plants’. By 2012, the IUCN assessed a total of 63,837 species and reported on their status in the following terms:

Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.

Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalised population outside its historic range. Read more...

queen bbee

Help save our bumblebees

by Dave Goulson ~ 17 November, 2014 ~ 3 comments

You may well have heard that bees are in trouble. Domestic honeybee hives seem to die more often than they used to, and some of our wild bees have disappeared altogether; for example, three of the UK’s twenty seven bumblebee species have gone extinct. The big, long-term driver of declines has been farming intensification; where once we had plentiful hay-meadows and chalk downland, rich with flowers, we now have flower-free monocultures of wheat or silage grass.

Pesticide use is also contributing to the problem, particularly new generations of systemic, persistent insecticides called neonicotinoids that get into nectar and pollen of both flowering crops and wildflowers. Read more...

Know your bumblebees

Know your bumblebees

by Chris ~ 27 June, 2014 ~ 5 comments

Following on from last week's post, the woodlands blog has often reported on the problems facing honey bees and bumblebees - from the vagaries of climate to the effects of insecticides, such as neonicotinoids.  Whilst it is easy to identify a honey bee and spot a bumblebee, it is somewhat more difficult to say what type of bumblebee might be foraging in your garden or woodland.

There is a lot of information about bumblebees at the bumblebee conservation trust website.  A particularly useful link is "Top tips for bee ID"; tail colour is an important or helpful feature.  Read more...

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