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The Arts Interview: Give bees a chance says environmental artist and trained zoologist Kurt Jackson

Gary Cook, Ecologist Arts Editor

1st August, 2016

Kurt Jackson's artworks of reflected, captured light show his obvious love for the wild ecology of the UK's favourite coastline and have made him one of the country's most respected art activists. Arts Editor GARY COOK learns more. more...

Brexit - a nasty sting in the tail for Britain's bees?

Dave Timms

21st June, 2016

Britain's bees are under threat from Brexit and moves to allow farmers to use banned bee-harming 'neonictinoid' pesticides, warns Dave Timms, Bees Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. With 20 species extinct since 1900 and a further 35 under threat, how much more can our bees take? more...
Bee on oilseed rape flower. Photo: ejausberg via Pixabay (Public Domain).

Defra stands up for bees: 'No' to NFU's neonic application

Oliver Tickell

13th May 2015

A damning expert critique of the National Farmers Union's application to use banned bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatment on a third of England's oilseed rape crop this autumn has forced the UK government to refuse the NFU's demand. more...
Forager bee pollinating a passion flower. Photo: Max Westby via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Chlorpyrifos 'may threaten survival' of Forager bees

The Ecologist

11th March 2016

The insecticide chlorpyrifos is not just highly toxic to developing human foetuses. A new study finds that it also damages the memory and learning ability of Forager bees even at very low doses, threatening the survival of this important pollinator. more...
A huge wild bee hive in Indian forest. Photo: Karunakar Rayker via Flickr (CC BY).

Climate change is killing off India’s bees

Pramila Krishnan

1st March 2016

A warming climate and the loss of natural areas are driving Indian bee colonies to the brink, writes Premila Krishnan. Losing this cousin of our European honeybee could be disastrous, as rural communities depend on their honey for food and income, and the bees perform vital pollination services. more...
Mining Bee (Andrena dunningi) on Hawthorn. Photo:  Dan Mullen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

New research exposes hidden cocktail of bee-killing pesticides in hedgerows and wildflowers

Oliver Tickell

5th January 2015

Dangerous volumes of neonicotinoid insecticides and other pesticides are expressed in common wild flowers like buttercups and hawthorn blossom in countryside under arable cultivation, a new study has discovered. The discovery invalidates the UK government's 'pollinator strategy' based on creating 'safe havens' in arable areas - because the havens are in fact loaded with pesticides. more...
Female Agapostemon sp. sweat bee, Oregon, USA. Photo: Thomas Shahan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Farm expansion driving US native bee declines

Beyond Pesticides

28th December 2015

Wild bee decline is closely associated with the advance of intensive farming and habitat loss, a new study shows. It follows an earlier paper that linked 'delayed action' decline of wild bees to exposure to pesticides including fungicides - previously considered 'bee-safe'. more...
Bumblebee, maybe Bombus terrestris or B. lucorum, at Fairlands Valley Park Environment Lake, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, 5 July 2013. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Our threatened bees deserve better!

Sandra Bell / Friends of the Earth

4th November 2015

On the first anniversary of the UK's National Pollinator Strategy, writes Sandra Bell, the Bee Coalition warns that bees are still under threat from highly toxic pesticides, continuing loss of habitat, and an increasingly inhospitable countryside. The Government must do more to protect our bees. more...
A bee supping nectar in a crop of oilseed rape / canola, Germany. Photo: Peter Biela via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee keepers challenge EU's bee-toxic pesticide permit

The Ecologist

29th October 2015

The EU's decision to authorise a new 'neonic' pesticide knowing it was highly toxic to bees has been challenged in the European Court. A similar permit granted to sulfoxaflor in the US has already been struck down by a federal court. more...
Wild Poppies flowering on edge of a wheat field in Essex. Beautiful - what about the bees? Photo: ukgardenphotos via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Bee-killer pesticides concentrate in wild flower pollen

Oliver Tickell

15th October 2015

Wild flower margins around arable fields can funnel deadly pesticides into the bees, wild pollinators and other insects they are intended to benefit, writes Oliver Tickell. Neonic pesticides are often far more concentrated in the wild flowers than in the crop itself. more...
Exposure to low levels of glyphosate impairs bees navigational learning. A bee in Charlotte, VA. Photo: Universal Pops via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Glyphosate harms bees' spatial learning

Beyond Pesticides

20th September 2015

A new study shows it's not just neonicotinoids that impair bees' ability to navigate to nectar and pollen sources, and to their nests: now the herbicide glyphosate has been found to have the same impact even at very low levels. more...
One of the lucky ones: bumblebee on dandelion at Altenhagen, Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Photo: Jakob Stitz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee cause: Germany tightens, UK relaxes neonic regulation

Oliver Tickell

23rd July 2015

An Emergency Ordinance comes into force in Germany today that extends the EU's ban on 'neonic' pesticides to protect bees. But the UK's farming minister Liz Truss has relaxed the ban to allow farmers to use neonics on 30,000 hectares of oilseed rape. more...

bees: 1/25 of 75
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The North American bumblebee Bombus vosnesenskii in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Sean McCann via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Warming world traps bumblebees in 'climate vice'

Tim Radford

10th July 2015

As Europe and North America warm, bumblebees should be able to fly north to cooler climes, writes Tim Radford. But they're not: the bees' range is receding in the south, but staying put in the north, and scientists fear their shrinking habitat will put many species at risk of extinction. more...
The EU's neonicotinoid moratorium forbids the use of the chemicals on oilseed rape as bees can receive fatal doses while pollinating the plants - but that's exactly what the NFU wants permission to do. Photo: j_arlecchino via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Keep our bees safe! Liz Truss must say no to neonics

Nat Whalley / 38 Degrees

5th June 2015

In 2013 the EU imposed a moratorium on three of the most toxic of the neonicotinoid pesticides in an attempt to save wild bee populations. Now farmers have applied to lift the ban, writes Nat Whalley. Time to call on environment secretary Liz Truss, who today receives a 300,000-signature 'save the bees' petition, to say 'No!' more...
The Common Carder Bumblebee is easy to identify - it's a drab gingery brown all over. Photo: Dave Goulson.

Help our vital pollinators - join the Great British Bee Count!

Paul de Zylva / Friends of the Earth

29th May 2015

You can help save our bees with 'citizen science', writes Paul de Zylva - recording those you spot in your local area to help build up a long term picture of their changing numbers. Today we publish an identification guide to the 'top ten' bees, so you can get started right away. But be quick - the Great British Bee Count 2015 ends on Sunday. more...
Pollinators are finding it increasingly hard to get by under industrial farming regimes. This Common Carda bumblebee is supping on a Clover flower on acid grassland near pond, New Ferry Butterfly Park - an urban nature reserve in Merseyside. Photo: Richar

If modern farming can't sustain bees, how much longer can it sustain us?

Dave Goulson

11th May 2015

Our bees and wider farmland ecosystems have been seriously harmed by neonicotinoids, writes Dave Goulson. But that's just the start of the damage that modern farming is doing to wildlife in a countryside stripped of wild flowers and drenched by cocktails of pesticides. The problem is not just neonics, but the entire model of industrial agriculture. more...
Six Spot Burnet Moth and Large Skipper Butterfly supping nectar on Common Knapweed. Photo: © 2015 Jo Cartmell.

Jo's mini meadow - our beautiful and vital insects

Jo Cartmell

7th May 2015

First Jo Cartmell converted her uninspiring front lawn into a 'mini-meadow' full of wild flowers. Next, she waited the return of insect life - not for very long as it turned out. Barely a few years into the project, a remarkable profusion of bees, beetles, moths and butterflies were buzzing and humming around the blooms ... more...
To pollinate California's huge monocultural almond farms bees are trucked in from all over the US, even flown in from Australia, because there's not the quantity or diversity of plants to sustain wild bee colonies or wild pollinators. Photo: Steve Corey v

Bee collapse is the result of their enslavement in industrial monocultures

Allan Stromfeldt Chris­tensen

2nd May 2015

Bee 'colony collapse disorder' cannot be ended by easy technofixes, writes Allan Stromfeldt Christensen. The real problem is the systematic abuse of bees in vast industrial monocultures, as they are trucked or flown thousands of miles from one farm to the next, treated with insecticides and antibiotics, and fed on 'junk food'. more...
A pack of Bayer's 'Calypso' pesticide that contains the bee-toxic neonicotinoid Thiacloprid, complete with the 'not harmful to bees' logo - as sold in Germany.

Bees victory in pesticide battle - Bayer libel action dismissed

Oliver Tickell

12th March 2015

Chemical giant Bayer has failed in its attempt to sue Friends of the Earth Germany over its claims that its pesticide Thiacloprid harms bees. Now pressure is growing on the EU to add the neonicotinoid to the three already banned. more...
Coming to honeybees in North America and Europe, a new parasite helped on its way by warmer summers. Photo: Smudge 9000, CC BY-SA.

Bee crisis: warmer summers will help new parasite

Robert Paxton

30th December 2014

An exotic parasite is spreading through the world's honey bees and global warming is making it worse, writes Robert Paxton. A new study that shows it will soon be causing widespread colony collapse in North America and Europe. more...
Barn swallow chicks (Hirundo rustica) at Arrábida (Quinta do Camalhão), Setúbal, Portugal. This insectivorous species is among those impacted by imidacloprid. Photo: Jose Sousa via Flickr.

It's not just the bees! 'Neonic' pesticides linked to bird declines

Helen Thompson

17th July 2014

A study published today in Nature shows a strong correlation between concentrations of a popular neonicotinoid pesticide in water, and bird declines, writes Helen Thompson. Regulators are under pressure to tighten up, but the industry still claims there's 'no substantiated evidence'. more...
Bee gathering nectar. Photo: Jack Wolf via Flickr.

Victory! Syngenta pulls 'bee-killer' pesticide application

The Ecologist

4th July 2014

Blaming 'lack of time', Syngenta withdraws its emergency application to use a seed treatment blamed for killing bees. Friends of the Earth and 38 Degrees claim victory - but Syngenta warns: we'll be back! more...
Neonicotinoid insecticides are killing more than just bees - entire farmland ecosystems are being poisoned. Photo: honeybees (Apis mellifera) on wild fennel, Albany, California, by Jack Wolf via Flickr.

Neonicotinoids are poisoning entire farmland ecosystems

Damian Carrington / The Guardian

2nd July 2014

The widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides is causing a neurotoxic overload afflicting entire farm ecosystems from earthworms to bees, other pollinators and birds, writes Damian Carrington. A collapse in food production may inevitably follow. more...
'If we had less pesticide use in the environment we wouldn't have such a problem.' Photo: C.G.P. Grey via Flickr.com.

Death by pest or pesticide? Antibiotic dangers trap bees in a Catch 22

Matthew Thompson

2nd February 2014

Antibiotics used to protect them from bacterial illnesses ravaging hives are making them die from commonly used pesticides, some of which are used to ward-off bee-killing parasites. Matthew Thompson reports. more...
Crop spraying near Harvington, Worcestershire, England. Photo: muffinn via Flickr.com.

Revealed: the chemical blitz of pesticides in our fields

Dave Goulson

30th January 2014

An ordinary arable field in Sussex is sprayed with pesticides 22 times over a single growing season. Dave Goulson wonders how the bees can survive this toxic onslaught - and exactly who benefits. more...

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