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Study increases pressure on government to protect bees

A UK study has added further evidence about the impact of a common neonicotinoid pesticide on bumblebees, but the British government remains silent on whether it would back a proposed wider ban on the substance.

Bumblebees are less able to start colonies when exposed to a common neonicotinoid pesticide called thiamethoxam, according to researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London. Their study, published on 14 August in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, concluded that exposure to this substance reduced the likelihood of a bumblebee queen starting a new colony by 26 per cent.

“Creating new bee colonies is vital for the survival of bumblebees—if queens don’t produce eggs or start new colonies, it is possible that bumblebees could die out completely,” said Gemma Baron, one of the study’s authors and an ecologist at the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway.

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