Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are pesticides killing Britain's bees? Government science chief orders urgent inquiry - 29th Mar 2011

The safety of a new generation of powerful pesticides is being evaluated amid fears they are to blame for Britain's vanishing bees.

The chemicals, which are routinely used on farms and garden centres, attack the central systems of insects and make bee colonies more vulnerable to disease and pests.

The position of the UK government has always been that the chemicals, which are used on 2.5million acres of farmland, have been tested and proven to be safe.

However, it has emerged that Professor Robert Watson, the chief scientist at the food and farming department, DEFRA, has asked officials to examine new research findings.

A study carried out at the US Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory pointed the finger at the pesticides which are known as neo-nicotinoids.

Scientists have been struggling for decades to understand the disappearance of honeybees, where numbers have halved since the 1980s. Read More