'Complex' reasons behind bee population decline

The high level of public concern over continued use of neonicotinoid pesticides was apparent in a Parliamentary debate last month on the issue, on which 42 MPs spoke, some saying they had received more correspondence on this issue than on military intervention in Syria.

Neonicotinoid: a Parliamentary debate was secured - image: Emilian Robert Vicol
Neonicotinoid: a Parliamentary debate was secured - image: Emilian Robert Vicol

Farming minister George Eustice claimed the reasons for the decline in bee populations since the mid-1950s "are many, varied and complex". He defended his approval of approved emergency authorisations of neonicotinoid seed treatments early in 2015, saying the UK was responsible for only 11 of the 414 such authorisations in the EU last year.

Meanwhile, a paper by researchers at Wageningen UR in the Netherlands published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B reported that the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid appeared to interact with the Varroa mite in reducing the flight capacity of honeybees, even when administered at a "field-realistic, chronic sub-lethal dose".


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