Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Neonicotinoids are bad for butterflies >>> What can we do?

We know that bees are being affected by Neonicotinoids:
Futures Forum: Neonicotinoids are bad for bees >>> What can we do?

It seems that butterflies are also endangered:
Pesticides 'harming' UK butterflies - BBC News
Scientists are warning that pesticides may be to blame for decline in butterflies | Nature | News | Daily Express
Pesticide may be reason butterfly numbers are falling in UK, says study | Environment | The Guardian
Pesticides could be cause of decline in butterflies | Western Morning News

This is the report from Butterfly Conservation:

Neonicotinoid pesticides linked to butterfly declines

Small Tortoiseshell on Rudbeckia
The use of neonicotinoid pesticides may be contributing to the decline of butterflies in the UK, a study has revealed.

Previous research has demonstrated that these chemicals, widely used in agriculture, appear to be harming bees, birds and other wildlife.

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But the study by the Universities of Stirling and Sussex in partnership with Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is the first scientific evidence of a possible negative impact on widespread UK butterflies.

Neonicotinoids were introduced in the mid-1990s as a replacement for older chemicals. They are a systematic insecticide, meaning that they are absorbed into every cell in a plant, making all parts poisonous to pests.

The chemicals remain in the environment and can be absorbed by the wildflowers growing in field margins, many of which provide a nectar source for butterflies and food-plants for their caterpillars.
The study found population trends of 15 species showed declines associated with neonicotinoid use, including Small TortoiseshellSmall Skipper and Wall species.

The study, published today in the journal PeerJ, is based on data gathered by volunteers from more than 1,000 sites across the UK as part of the long-running UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS).

Ecologist Dr Andre Gilburn of the University of Stirling, who led the study, said: “Our study not only identifies a worrying link between the use of neonicotinoids and declines in butterflies, but also suggests that the strength of their impact on many species could be huge.” 

Dr Tom Brereton, Head of Monitoring at Butterfly Conservation, said: “We are extremely concerned with the findings of the study and are calling for urgent research to see whether the correlations we found are caused by neonicotinoid use, or some other aspect of intensive farming.

“Widespread butterflies have declined by 58 per cent on farmland in England over the last 10 years giving concern for the general health of the countryside and for these and other insects in particular.”

Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex said: “Many of us can remember a time when our meadows and hedgerows had far more butterflies, bees and other insects than today.

“This study adds to the growing mountain of evidence that neonicotinoids are one of the causes of these declines.”

Read the PeerJ study here

Butterfly Conservation - Neonicotinoid pesticides linked to butterfly declines

And this is a plea to help:

Butterfly Conservation Logo

A study released today has found evidence linking the use of pesticides with declines of butterflies and moths in the UK.  

In light of this shocking revelation Butterfly Conservation is asking for your help to carry out more detailed analysis to find specific proof that these chemicals are responsible so we can persuade the Government to review their use.
Will you pledge your support today and share this news as far and wide as possible?
The study, by Stirling University in association with Butterfly Conservation, looked particularly at Neonicotinoids (Neonics).  These were introduced in the mid -1990’s and are widely used on crops and also sold for use in gardens.

Why are Neonics such a problem?
  • They are a new type of highly toxic chemical which acts as a nerve agent for insects.
  • They stay in the environment and reach all parts of the treated crop including surrounding soil.
  • They get into water courses and adjacent habitats such as field margins and hedgerows where many insects breed.
  • They spread into pollen and nectar in wildflower strips specifically sown to help butterflies.

In the USA there is strong evidence that these pesticides are killing Monarch butterflies because Neonic residues are getting into milkweed plants that grow around arable crops.  The same phenomenon could be happening here in Britain – we must find out and stop it continuing!

Your donation will help us find out more about this threat to the survival of our butterflies.
Please take this opportunity to contribute to a positive change for all wildlife.

Are pesticides killing our butterflies?

See also:
Futures Forum: Challenging toxic chemicals on the farm >>> the award-winning documentary 'The Real Dirt on Farmer John' >>> Bridport: Saturday 13th June

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