Just before celebrating the National Honeybee Day (due this weekend, on August 20), news from Europe announce that wild bees in England are at risk. The population of these small insects is decimated by man, through pesticides.
Studies have been held throughout the years, and now they prove that reckless use of pesticides indeed endangers the wild bees in England. The main damaging substance for them is neonicotinoids, on which they forage.
The initiative of this study came from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and it lasted for almost 17 years, starting from 1994 to 2011. In the study were involved 62 species of wild bees, and it showed that the last nine years were the worse for the wild bees in England.
Farmers have been using neonicotinoids for their oilseed rape crops since 2001, when the usage of the pesticide was allowed in the U.K. Nevertheless, after more than ten years, the European Union forbade it at acknowledging the risks it carried for the wild bees population, as well as the importance of the small insects.
On the other hand, farmers rely on pesticides such as neonicotinoids in order to protect their crops from pest, and they have no intention of killing the bees. The specialists suggest that there should be a new formula for pesticides that would kill the other pest, but do no harm to the bees.
Christopher Connolly (University of Dundee), who is a specialist with bees, commented on the study of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. He stated for Reuters:
“The evidence against neonicotinoids now exists in key bee brain cells involved in learning and memory, in whole bees, entire colonies and now at the level of whole populations of wild bees.”
However, there are specialists who think that this sort of pesticide is not the cause of wild bees extinction in the U.K. Chris Hartfield (National Farmers Union) is one of them, as he declares:
“It does not show that neonicotinoids are causing widespread declines in pollinator populations, and it certainly does not show that neonicotinoid use has caused any extinction of bees in England.”
It looks like some further research is needed in order to state for sure the causes of the extinction of wild bees in England. One way or another, the situation needs its solution.
The study led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia