Large-scale study shows neonic pesticides harm bees
The most extensive study to date on neonicotinoid pesticides concludes that they harm both honeybees and wild bees. Researchers said that exposure to the chemicals left honeybee hives less likely to survive over winter, while bumblebees and solitary bees produced fewer queens.
The study spanned 2,000 hectares across the UK, Germany and Hungary and was set up to establish the “real-world” impacts of the pesticides.
Neonicotinoids were placed under a temporary ban in Europe in 2013 after concerns about their impact on bees. The European Commission told the BBC that it intends to put forward a new proposal to further restrict the use of the chemicals.
Prof Richard Pywell, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxfordshire, who carried out the research, told BBC News: “Our findings are a cause for serious concern. “We’ve shown for the first time negative effects of neonicotinoid-coated seed dressings on honeybees and we’ve also shown similar negative effects on wild bees. “This is important because many crops globally are insect pollinated and without pollinators we would struggle to produce some foods.”
However, Bayer, a major producer of neonicotinoids which part-funded the study, said the findings were inconclusive and that it remained convinced the pesticides were not bad for bees.
A second study published in the journal Science looked at commercial corn-growing areas of Canada. The scientists found that worker bees exposed to neonicotinoids had lower life expectancies and their colonies were more likely to permanently lose queens.
Thousands of wild animals are being moved across parts of Africa in an attempt to restore their populations in Mozambique, where a bloody 15-year civil war nearly wiped them out.
Neighboring Zimbabwe is donating and transporting 50 elephants, 100 giraffes, 200 zebras and 200 water buffaloes to Mozambique’s Zinave National Park in one of Africa’s largest ever wildlife transfers.
In total, about 7,500 wild animals from Zimbabwe, South Africa and elsewhere in Mozambique will be relocated during the next three years to help Zinave officials restore the park’s diversity.
Scientists are baffled by the mounting invasion of jellylike organisms that are clogging fishing gear from California to British Columbia this year.
The glowing, tubular pyrosome clusters are typically found in the tropics far from shore, but they have spread northward right along the Pacific Coast in recent years.
There are now reports of them as far north as Sitka, Alaska.
Some West Coast fishermen say there are now so many of the “sea pickles” in the water that it is impossible to catch anything else.