Monitoring neonicotinoid exposure for bees in rural and peri-urban areas of the UK during the transition from pre- to post-moratorium

Nicholls, Elizabeth, Botias, Cristina, Rotheray, Ellen L, Whitehorn, Penelope, David, Arthur, Fowler, Robert, David, Thomas, Feltham, Hannah, Swain, Jennifer L, Wells, Patricia, Hill, Elizabeth M, Osborne, Juliet L and Goulson, Dave (2018) Monitoring neonicotinoid exposure for bees in rural and peri-urban areas of the UK during the transition from pre- to post-moratorium. Environmental Science and Technology, 52 (16). pp. 9391-9402. ISSN 0013-936X

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Concerns regarding the impact of neonicotinoid exposure on bee populations recently led to an EU-wide moratorium on the use of certain neonicotinoids on flowering crops. Currently evidence regarding the impact, if any, the moratorium has had on bees’ exposure is limited. We sampled pollen and nectar from bumblebee colonies in rural and peri-urban habitats in three UK regions; Stirlingshire, Hertfordshire and Sussex. Colonies were sampled over three years; prior to the ban (2013), during the initial implementation when some seed-treated winter-sown oilseed rape was still grown (2014), and following the ban (2015). To compare species-level differences, in 2014 only, honeybee colonies in rural habitats were also sampled. Over half of all samples were found to be contaminated (n=408), with thiamethoxam being the compound detected at the highest concentrations in honeybee- (up to 2.29 ng/g in nectar in 2014, median≤0.1 ng/g, n=79) and bumblebee-collected pollen and nectar (up to 38.77 ng/g in pollen in 2013, median ≤0.12 ng/g, n=76). Honeybees were exposed to higher concentrations of neonicotinoids than bumblebees in 2014. While neonicotinoid exposure for rural bumblebees declined post-ban (2015), suggesting a positive impact of the moratorium, the risk of neonicotinoid exposure for bumblebees in peri-urban habitats remained largely the same between 2013 and 2015.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: David Goulson
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2018 15:10
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2019 14:16

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
An Integrated Model for Predicting Bumblebee Population Success and Pollination Services in Agro-ecosystemsG1136BBSRC-BIOTECHNOLOGY & BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCILBB/J014753/2