New evidence shows that the impact of pesticides on the environment is greater than we thought – putting not just bees but all of our tiny pollinators in danger. Order your FREE wildflower seeds from Friends of the Earth today, and grow your own clean, green space for bees this spring.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are being linked to the decline of bee populations around the world in an ever-growing number of scientific studies in both laboratory and field conditions. In response, European restrictions have been in place for the past three years preventing the use of three neonics on certain crops such as oilseed rape.
But these restrictions have been shown to be both inadequate and insufficient. Growing evidence continues to link these chemicals to wider devastation in our environment – and the decline of other pollinators.
In June 2014, a study by the Global Task Force on Systemic Pesticides – involving 29 scientists – concluded that neonics are ‘causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species’. In April 2015, the European Academies Science Advisory Council which includes the Royal Society, stated there is ‘clear scientific evidence’ that even low-levels of exposure to neonics, over extended periods, is having damaging effects on many pollinators, not just bees.
In November 2015, the Universities of Stirling and Sussex published findings that linked the decline of 15 butterfly species to the presence of neonics. More recently, in August 2016, analysis of 18 years of data showed a direct link between the use of neonics on oil seed rape and declines in various pollinating insects.
These are just some of the studies showing harm to bees and other pollinators. More research is urgently needed to determine exactly how great the threat is to these and other species and to our wider environment.
About 90% of all flowering plants need pollinators to survive – and although bees are the most prolific and famous, their job is well supported by wasps, beetles, butterflies, moths, birds and bats, as well as some non-flying animals like reptiles. That means if pesticides are introduced into the delicate ecosystems of our food chains, there’s a whole host of unintended potential victims.
And their impact isn’t limited to pollinators foraging in crops. A recent study of pesticides revealed that high levels of neonics can be detected in the hedgerows near crops, and also on wildflowers like poppies in surrounding fields.
All this adds up to an overwhelming case for making the current restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids permanent, and also extending them to include all crops – such as wheat and barley.
Grow your own wildflower garden!
And you can show your love for all our native pollinators today by requesting your FREE packet of wildflower seeds and creating a green sanctuary in your garden or window box!