EU has failed to halt decline of bees and butterflies, auditors say

Image of honey bee on purple flowers.

(Reuters) The European Court of Auditors looked at the effectiveness of the European Commission’s framework of measures aimed at protecting species also including wasps and beetles – such as its 2018 pollinators and biodiversity to 2020 initiatives. Such policies do not really help with the protection of pollinators, auditors said. The auditors even found that EU rules on pesticides are a main cause of wild pollinator losses.

Honey bee lives shortened after exposure to two widely used pesticides

Image of honey bees of comb.

(Oregon State University) The lives of honey bees are shortened – with evidence of physiological stress – when they are exposed to the suggested application rates of two commercially available and widely used pesticides: sulfoxaflor and flupyradifurone. According to the researchers, this is the first study to investigate sub-lethal effects of these active ingredients.

What motivates sales of pollinator-friendly plants?

Image of urban garden.

(EurekAlert/American Society for Horticultural Science) An analysis out of the University of Georgia details the relationship between consumer awareness and the attentiveness and care given to pollinator-friendly plant purchases. The results show that information from the federal government, nursery/greenhouse industry associations, and environmental activist groups has the same impact on self-reported future pollinator-friendly plant purchasing as the no-information group. Only information from universities and major media outlets reportedly drives changes in consumer behavior.

Pesticide seed coatings are widespread but underreported

Image of pesticide-coated seeds

(Penn State) Pesticide-coated seeds – including neonicotinoids – are increasingly used in the major field crops but are underreported, in part, because farmers often do not know what pesticides are on their seeds, according to an international team of researchers. “One of the most important findings of this study is that farmers know less about pesticides applied to their seeds than pesticides applied in other ways.”

Pesticides damage the brains of baby bees

Image of CT scan of bumble bee brain.

(CNN) Research from the Imperial College London has found that baby bumble bees can feel the effects of food contaminated by pesticides brought back into the colony, making them poorer at performing tasks later in life. Pesticide-contaminated food caused parts of the bee brain to grow less, leading to older adult bees possessing smaller and functionally impaired brains – an effect that appeared to be permanent and irreversible.

California banned chlorpyrifos from your food. Now it won’t be manufactured

Image of helicopter spraying.

(Los Angeles Times) The primary manufacturer of a pesticide banned by California and the European Union said it will no longer produce the chemical. The move comes as the market for chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to developmental disorders and is toxic to bees, shrinks rapidly — the European Union followed California’s lead in banning it, as has New York.