Written by  Russell Fox

Link found between fungicides & bee decline (part 2)

While this article discusses the effects on bumblebees, the same factors are also having an effect on our honey bees, and probably our native bees and pollinators as well.

Much has been written on the effect of pesticides on bees, but this effect of fungicides highlights the importance of looking at the big picture (landscape size) all factors and influences in that landscape.
(continued from last issue)
Fungicides were generally overlooked
Fungicides have been largely overlooked in bee decline. However, a few lab-based studies have shown that fungicides can make Nosema much worse in bees, probably by killing beneficial gut microbes.
The way we humans are managing the landscape is putting bees are under enormous pressure. The EU seem to be making progress towards a complete ban on a proven factor : neonicotinoid insecticides—the world’s most widely used insecticide.
It appears that a very common fungicide could also be a driver of wild bee declines. Chlorothalonil is the most used pesticide spray in the UK, used on 4.5 million hectares of land in 2016.
The regulatory system worldwide is under increasing scrutiny as the landscape-scale effects of pesticides cannot be predicted from controlled lab and field studies.
A damning assessment by one of the UK’s chief scientific advisers says global regulations have ignored the impacts of ‘dosing whole landscapes’.
The evidence showing the serious harm to bees caused by neonicotinoids is continuing to accumulate.
New research shows the combination of neonicotinoids and reduced food supplies cut bee survival by 50%.
“Interactions between the many threats to bees appear to increase the risk of pesticide use to our beneficial insects,” said Christopher Connolly, at the University of Dundee, UK.
The European Commission is expected to vote on a total ban on neonicotinoids in fields in early 2018, with most nations—including the UK—known to be in favour.

See this article in Tree Fruit Feb 2018