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Aug 18, 2016 @ 3:22

Controversial insecticides linked to wild bee declines

A dip in the populations of wild bees across the English countryside over nine years coincided with the use of chemicals called neonicotinoids on the crops in which the bees forage, ecologists say.

The UK government-funded study, published on 16 August in Nature Communications1, is the first to link the controversial insecticides to the decline of many bee species in real-world conditions. Previous work has studied the effects of the insecticides on bees in the laboratory, or on a few wild-bee species in a small number of fields over a few weeks2.

“Our results show that neonicotinoids are harmful to wild bees — we are very confident about that,” says Nick Isaac, an ecologist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in Wallingford, UK, who worked on the study.

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