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Expert Reactions

Neonicotinoid traces in honey – Expert Reaction

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on October 6th, 2017.

A global study of honey found 75 per cent of samples had traces of neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been implicated in the global decline of pollinators, particularly bees. Published today in Science, the research found concentrations of the pesticide were below the amount authorised by the European Union for human consumption. Concentrations were highest in […]

Field tests show insecticide impact on bees – Expert Reaction

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on June 30th, 2017.

Two large-scale field experiments have shown mixed effects of certain insecticides on honey bees and wild bees. Neonicotinoids are insecticides broadly applied to many major crops but have been implicated in the decline of bees globally. Two studies, published today in Science, found mixed results. Insecticide residue in bees nests was associated with lower reproductive […]

Neo-nic pesticides need more examination – Morning Report

John Kerr posted in on October 6th, 2015.

Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report examines the issue of neonicotinoid pesticides and their impact on New Zealand’s beehives. Lois Williams spoke to Harvard Professor Alex Lu, whose research has shown previously that New Zealand pollens contain more neonicotinoids than samples obtained in the US. You can listen the report below.

Bee disease and novel virus in invading ants – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on September 9th, 2015.

Invasive Argentine ants carry a virus linked to colony collapse in bees as well another insect virus new to science, according to a first-of-its-kind New Zealand study. The new research, published today in Biology Letters, hunted for evidence of insect viruses in Argentine ant populations from New Zealand, Australia and Argentina. One of the key […]

Siouxsie Wiles on the future of science

John Kerr posted in on August 6th, 2015.

In her regular science slot, Dr Siouxsie Wiles talks on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon about the special ‘Future of Science’ issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand (and bee vaccines and the mortality of young fathers). You can listen to the segment below and read more about the special […]

Warming puts the squeeze on bumble bees – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on July 10th, 2015.

A new comprehensive study, published in Science, tracks the impact of climate change on bumblebees, finding global warming is rapidly shrinking the area where these bees are found in both North America and Europe. Researchers examined more than 420,000 historical and current Northern Hemisphere records of many species of bumblebees–and confirm that the critical pollinators […]

EU votes against bee-harming pesticides – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on April 30th, 2013.

The European Commission has voted in favour of a two-year moratorium on the use of a pesticide known to harm bees. Neonicotinoid chemicals in pesticides have been blamed for falling bee numbers and the European Commission says they should be restricted to crops not attractive to bees and other pollinators. The Commission’s action is a […]

Wild pollinators crucial – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on March 1st, 2013.

A massive international study of 600 field trials from around the globe (including New Zealand) highlights the importance of wild insects in spreading pollen for agricultural crops, and warns of excessive reliance on honeybees. The study, published in Science, found that wild insects pollinate crops more effectively than managed honeybees, leading to twice as much […]

Pesticide harms bees at ‘safe’ levels – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on March 30th, 2012.

Two new studies published in Science this week show that honey and bumble bees are negatively affected by a widely-used class of pesticides – even at supposedly safe doses. The pair of research articles examines the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides, insect neurotoxins which were introduced in the early 1990s and have now become one of the […]

How bad is the worldwide bee decline?

Peter Griffin posted in on March 10th, 2009.

New Zealand has a love affair with bees. Not only are we a significant producer and consumer of honey and its derivative products, we have a close affinity with bees that translates into a type of public fascination. Stories about bees always rate well, I’m told by people in the media. Witness Radio New Zealand’s […]

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