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6 : Around the Colony Wider Impacts of Banned Pesticides

A new report indicates that neonicotinoids, linked to the deaths of bees and recently banned by the European Union, may be harming other wildlife species. Professor Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex has published his assessment in the Journal of Applied Ecology and suggests the chemicals pose a risk to soil, water and grain- eating birds such as partridge, along with other animals. In his review, the Sussex

‘Bee-friendly’ Project for a Railway Station

The ‘Bee-friendly’ project by the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP) involves introducing more bee-friendly pollinating plants into the extensive station gardens at Alsager railway station, on the Crewe–Stoke–Derby line and also fi tting bee boxes to provide a better habitat for bees.

The new plants have been chosen and planted by volunteers. Bee boxes, together with a number of bird nesting boxes, have been donated by East Midlands Trains. Children from the local Alsager school have designed eye-catching bee logos to illustrate information posters which will be displayed in the waiting shelters at the station.

Faye Lambert, NSCRP Project Offi cer, said: ‘Our aim is to make Alsager station even more of a haven for bees and wildlife and also encourage everyone to be kind to bees’.

Prize Draw Winners

The draw to win a £50 prize voucher at the BBKA Spring Convention was won by Gerald and Vera Williams from Ireland. They chose a copy of the Bee Craft book Practical Microscopy by Bob Maurer for their association library and kindly donated the rest to the charity Bees for Development.

researcher found that 90% of the active ingredients in these chemicals go into the soil and leach into groundwater. They can accumulate in soil at concentrations far higher than those that kill bees and persist there for up to ten years. Other recent studies have also shown neonicotinoids affect the environment more than previously thought and some scientists described the new work as interesting and stated that Professor Goulson was right to draw attention to the

Vita Launches Smartphone App

Vita (Europe) Ltd has launched the fi rst-ever smartphone app about keeping healthy bees. The app gives beekeepers easy mobile access to information and photographs relating to honey bee disease identifi cation and treatment and will be useful within a practical apiary context. Suitable for most mobile devices, the app is free and can be downloaded from

Grass-free Public Lawn

A fl oral, grass-free lawn commissioned by Kensington and Chelsea Council and planted in a west London park was the brainchild of PhD researcher Lionel Smith from the University of Reading. Plants, including daisies, red clover, thyme, chamomile, pennyroyal and Corsican mint create a ‘pollinator-friendly patchwork’ – with 25% more

insect life than that found in traditionally managed grass lawns. August 2013 Vol 95 No 8

lack of assessment about the sub-lethal effects on insects. Some researchers, however, are not convinced that the threats from the use of neonicotinoids are as widespread as the new review suggests. John Pickett, head of the Department for Biological Chemistry at Rothamsted Research, played down the effect of neonicotinoid pesticides, saying: ‘All commercial pesticides are tested scrupulously and with immense rigour for non-target effects and have to be used in a manner that means they cannot have important effects on the environment.

‘If you test pesticides out of context you are likely to fi nd all kinds of effects but that is not necessarily indicative of a wider effect and strict registration rules exist that are aimed at protecting the environment’.

1 Goulson D (2013). An overview of the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoid insecticides. Journal of Applied Ecology


Design by Zoe, Alsager School

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