“Growing evidence for declines in bee populations has caused great concern due to the valuable ecosystem services they provide. Neonicotinoid insecticides have been implicated in these declines as they occur at trace levels in the nectar and pollen of crop plants. We exposed colonies of the bumble bee Bombus terrestris in the lab to field-realistic levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, then allowed them to develop naturally under field conditions. Treated colonies had a significantly reduced growth rate and suffered an 85% reduction in production of new queens compared to control colonies. Given the scale of use of neonicotinoids, we suggest that they may be having a considerable negative impact on wild bumble bee populations across the developed world.”
UPDATE TO THIS STORY – Good News! This story from the Guardian Newspaper 29 April 2013 with the European Commission taking the lead on banning the neonicatinoid classes of pesticides. Now we just need Asia/India/Americas and Australasia to follow their lead??
“Europe will enforce the world’s first continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides alleged to cause serious harm to bees, after a European commission vote on Monday.
The suspension is a landmark victory for millions of environmental campaigners, backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), concerned about a dramatic decline in the bee population. The vote also represents a serious setback for the chemical producers who make billions each year from the products and also UK ministers, who voted against the ban. Both had argued the ban would harm food production.”
Go to this link for the full story. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/29/bee-harming-pesticides-banned-europe