Call for permanent ban on bee-endangering pesticides

Conservation charity, the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), which has reserves in the Borders, is calling for a permanent ban on neonicotinoid pesticides after new research shows bumblebees have difficulty collecting pollen when they are exposed to the chemical

It causes them to bring back a third less pollen, meaning less food for the colony which could explain why queen bees are less productive.

SWT’s Dr Maggie Keegan, said: “Previous research has shown that bumblebee colony production was much less when the bees were exposed to these toxic chemicals, now we know why.

“This new research should be another nail in the coffin for this group of pesticides which we believe should be permanently withdrawn from use.”

Stirling University scientists gave doses of the neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, in quantities that bees could realistically pick up in fields and found, while it had no impact on the bees’ foraging ability, affected bees brought back 31 per cent less pollen per hour than unexposed bees.

In December 2013, the EU imposed a temporary two-year ban on the use of three types of neonicotinoids.