The Ecologist


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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...
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...

bees: 1/25 of 65
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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

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

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...
Bee on flower. Photo: dslaven /

Neonicotinoid ban won't fix all bees' problems

Dave Goulson

30th November 2013

A temporary ban on neonicotinoid insecticides comes into effect across the EU this weekend. Dave Goulson argues that far deeper, structural changes are needed to create a countryside fit for bees and other wildlife. more...

Bees: the battle is not over yet

Rob Drake-Knight reports on a unique collaboration between an environmental organisation and an eco-fashion label who together aim to raise greater awareness of the plight of bees..... more...

Bee protection: US in spotlight as EU bans pesticides

by Elizabeth Grossman

European commission vote highlights threat to the world's food supply from the decline of bees and other pollinators more...

Bees with Alzheimer’s – the price of pesticides

April 8th, 2013

by Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas on why me must continue to fight against excessive pesticide use, for the sake of both humans and bees....... more...

Frontline Online: What's killing our bees?

April 3rd, 2013

by Lorna Howarth

The Ecologist's Lorna Howarth reports on news and action from the environmental frontline.... more...

An hour in the eco garden: November

by Hazel Sillver

Now is the time to plant things that will provide bees and butterflies with food next year. But fear not, this doesn’t mean your garden has to start looking like a field. Hazel Sillver suggests three planting schemes of biennials and perennials for an elegant nectar border. more...
The A to Z of livestock

The A to Z of smallholdings

Lisa Stephens

8th May, 2012

Take one Alpaca, a scattering of silkworms, a couple of cows and a group of goats, and you could just be the next Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Lisa Stephens presents the A to Z of smallholdings more...
Tried and tested: eco-friendly lip balm

Tried and tested: lip balm

Ruth Styles

25th April, 2012

High on petrochemicals and low on efficacy, it’s time to swap your Vaseline for something a little greener. Ruth Styles puts the planet-pleasing alternatives to the test more...

Six reasons to become an urban beekeeper

Zion Lights

19th April, 2012

Urban beekeeping will help boost the UK's declining bee population. Here are six reasons to get involved more...

Grave threat of pesticides to bees' billion-pound bonanza is now clear

Damian Carrington, Guardian Head of Environment

April 2012

Replacing the pollination of food crops that the UK's bees perform for free would cost £1.8bn. With hard data now linking pesticides to bees' rapid decline, there is no excuse for inaction, says Damian Carrington more...


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