Poisoned pollen means no jubilee for Bumblebee queens - Buglife

31st March 2012
Poisoned pollen means no jubilee for Bumblebee queens - Buglife
A new report published today by The University of Stirling indicates that harmful pesticides are potentially reducing the number of queen bumblebees in the countryside.
Research carried out by Dr Penelope Whitehorn, Stirling University, found that when bumblebee nests and their queens were exposed to imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticides, at levels present in the UK countryside they grew more slowly and the nest had 85% reduction in the number of queens they produced.
Red tailed bumblebee, queen (Bombus lapidarius) © Nicolas Vereecken
Professor Dave Goulson, who supervised the research stated “Our work indicates that exposure of bumblebees to certain insecticides is having a major impact on queen bumblebees. Queens are needed to build new nests in the spring, so reducing the number of queens means far fewer nests. Repeated year on year, the long term impacts are likely to be profound, potentially resulting in massive bumblebee declines.”
Vicky Kindemba, Buglife Conservation Manager, commented “The staggering decline in our wild pollinators including bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies is alarming and urgent action needs to be taken to prevent the causes. Buglife highlighted neonicotinoid pesticides as a cause for concern over three years ago asking the Government to suspend these pesticides from use in the UK but no action was taken.”