Top UN scientists warn humans at risk from biodiversity crisis

A landmark report by the United Nations’ scientific panel on biodiversity warns that humans are at dire risk unless urgent action is taken to restore the plants, animals and other natural resources they depend on to survive. The report, which was issued in Paris on Monday by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), describes a world where living and future generations of people face the threat of worsening food and water shortages, because of habitat and species loss.

Neonics hinder bees' ability to fend off deadly mites

A University of Guelph study is the first to uncover the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees' ability to groom and rid themselves of deadly mites. The research comes as Health Canada places new limits on the use of three key neonicotinoids while it decides whether to impose a full phase-out of the chemicals. Published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, the study revealed that when honey bees are infected with varroa mites and then regularly exposed to low doses of a commonly used neonicotinoid called clothianidin, their self-grooming behaviour drops off.

Pesticide Marketed as Safe for Bees Harms Them in Study

A pesticide used to control aphids and whiteflies called flupyradifurone, sold commercially as Sivanto, harms or even kills honey bees (Apis mellifera) when exposed to low doses in combination with a fungicide, according to the results of laboratory experiments published on April 10 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The researchers find that when honey bees encounter both FPF and a commonly used fungicide, propiconazole (PRO), the effects are worse than FPF alone.

More than a dozen wild bee species are declining in Northeastern U.S.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found a dramatic decline of 14 wild bee species that are, among other things, important across the Northeast for the pollination of major local crops like apples, blueberries and cranberries. "We know that wild bees are greatly at risk and not doing well worldwide," said Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences. "This status assessment of wild bees shines a light on the exact species in decline, beside the well-documented bumble bees.

Widespread losses of pollinating insects revealed across Britain

A widespread loss of pollinating insects in recent decades has been revealed by the first national survey in Britain, which scientists say “highlights a fundamental deterioration” in nature. The analysis of 353 wild bee and hoverfly species found the insects have been lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980. A third of the species now occupy smaller ranges, with just one in 10 expanding their extent, and the average number of species found in a square kilometre fell by 11.

European Commission to vote on thiacloprid relicensing

On March 22, representatives of European Agriculture Ministers will meet at the European Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (ScoPAFF) to deliberate Thiacloprid's relicensing. Three other neonicotinoid insecticides (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam) were recently banned for outdoor use in all EU member states. They were banned from sale from 19 September 2018 and from use by 19 December 2018.

The novel pesticide flupyradifurone (Sivanto) affects honeybee motor abilities

A new pesticide by the name of “Sivanto” was recently released by Bayer AG. Its active ingredient flupyradifurone binds to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AchR) in the honeybee brain, similar to neonicotinoids. Nevertheless, flupyradifurone is assumed to be harmless for honeybees and can even be applied on flowering crops. So far, only little has been known about sublethal effects of flupyradifurone on honeybees. Intact motor functions are decisive for numerous behaviors including foraging and dancing.