Goulson Lab

Dave's blog

Pesticides in “Bee-Friendly” flowers

Posted on 1 Jun, 2017

Take a walk around your local garden centre and you will see a mouth-watering display of gorgeous plants on display. You might note that some are specifically labelled as bee or pollinator friendly, with a picture of a cartoon bumblebee on the label....

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Are neonicotinoids killing birds (part 2)

Posted on 29 Mar, 2017

This article will make more sense if you read my previous blog first!
In a recent online article NFU’s Dr Chris Hartfield is quoted as saying:
“Dave Goulson’s theories about neonicotinoids poisoning birds are simply that – theories – and are not...

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Are neonicotinoids killing birds?

Posted on 7 Mar, 2017

Philip Lymbery, chief executive of Compassion in World Farming, has just launched his new book “Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were.” In it, he suggests that neonicotinoid insecticides may be contributing to bird declines. This claim has come under...

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Are robotic bees the future?

Posted on 7 Feb, 2017

There have been a number of scientific papers published in recent years discussing the possibility of building miniature flying robots to replace bees and pollinate crops. Clumsy prototypes have been tested, and seem to crudely work. If crops co...

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On neonicotinoids and impartiality in scientific research

Posted on 16 Jan, 2017

Last week my group posted online a lengthy review of new evidence (post 2013) relating to the possible risks posed by neonicotinoid insecticides to the environment: 
“The Environmental Risks of Neonicotinoid Pesticides: a Review of the Evidence Post...

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Will the UK retain the neonicotinoid moratorium post-Brexit?

Posted on 14 Oct, 2016

A couple of weeks ago the Society of Chemical Industry held a meeting in London to discuss “Are neonicotinoids killing bees?” As you might guess from the name of the people organising it, this seems to have been a rather one-sided affair; a bunch of ...

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“Bee Informed” – but not by this propaganda

Posted on 26 Apr, 2016

 Pop in to your local Homebase, find the long aisles where the plethora of garden pesticides are arrayed, and you will now find glossy leaflets prominently displayed with a picture of a bumblebee on the front, entitles “BEE INFORMED - WHEN USING IN...

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Crop yields higher than ever without neonics

Posted on 16 Feb, 2015

In the run up to the vote on a EU-wide moratorium on use of neonicotinoids on flowering crops, which came about because of a growing body of scientific evidence that they were doing significant harm to bees, the agrochemical industry produced glossy ...

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Biodiversity v Intensive Farming; Has Farming Lost its Way?

Posted on 16 Jan, 2015

[This blog was posted as a guest blog on the Journal of Animal Ecology website, 16 Jan 2015, duplicated here for those that check my Uni blog]
Modern intensive farming produces plentiful, cheap food but is reliant on heavy use of agrochemicals and i...

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Neonics, crop losses, and ‘green activists’ – a plea for a little more accuracy in the media

Posted on 20 Dec, 2014

I warn you now: this blog won’t be of much interest unless you’ve been following the neonic debate closely. It is in response to an opinion piece in the Telegraph by Christopher Booker (6 December 2014) and several recent blogs in a similar vein. 

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Are crops being devastated without neonicotinoid protection?

Posted on 10 Oct, 2014

Response to article by Matt Ridley in the Times, 6 October. Note that the Times refused to publish a (shorter) response that I sent to them:

To: letters@thetimes.co.uk
Dear Sir,
On 6 October, the Times published an opinion piece by Matt Ri...

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Launch of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) on the environmental impacts of systemic pesticides

Posted on 27 Jun, 2014

On Tuesday this week I was in Brussels, for a press conference to launch a major series of scientific publications on the impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on the environment. On the same day, press conferences were also held in Manila, Tokyo and...

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USA finally considering action over neonicotinoids, spurred on by doubts as to whether they actually work

Posted on 2 Jun, 2014

Two US Congressmen have launched a bill to suspend uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the US, following the lead of the European Union. Representatives John Conyers of Michigan and Earl Bluemenauer or Oregon introduced the “Saving America’s Pollin...

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Does anyone remember Rachel Carson? More on pesticides and bees...

Posted on 15 Jan, 2014

As part of a project to study impacts of pesticides on bumblebees, we have recently been surveying what chemicals the local farmers in East Sussex use each year. Perhaps I was naive, but I found the figures to be astonishing. Below, I’ve pasted a lis...

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Monarch butterflies; A&E conservation not the way forwards?

Posted on 2 Jan, 2014

Monarch butterflies are one of the most beautiful and remarkable of insects. They migrate annually from cool forests in the mountains of Mexico, where they hibernate in vast numbers, northwards to all of the USA and into southern Canada, where they b...

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One more unto the breach; a look at Defra’s stance on neonicotinoids

Posted on 13 Sep, 2013

On 27 March 2013, Defra released “An assessment of key evidence about neonicotinoids and bees”. They recently reiterated their conclusion that the ban was 'unnecessary and unjustified'. Defra’s chief scientist, Prof Ian Boyd, can be viewed on YouTube...

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Biggest bumblebee poisoning event in history

Posted on 22 Jun, 2013

On 15 June, a landscaping company in Wilsonville, Oregon, decided to spray some lime trees with insecticide. The trees were in a parking lot, and had some aphids on them, so there was a risk that some cars might get little drops of sticky honeydew on...

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The neonicotinoid saga continues

Posted on 15 Jun, 2013

Yesterday saw publication of my review of the evidence for broader impacts of neonicotinoids on wildlife other than bees in the Journal of Applied Ecology. If you'd like to read it, please go to Goulson Lab publications page, scroll down, and click o...

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Bumblebees on Springwatch

Posted on 3 Jun, 2013

Ah, the perils of live TV. They say never work with animals or children, so I fear I am in trouble. Tomorrow I am appearing live on "Springwatch in the Afternoon", broadcast from deepest, darkest Wales (an RSPB reserve somewhere near Aberystwyth). I'...

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Neonicotinoids and bees; what is the fuss all about?

Posted on 7 May, 2013

When I was first asked to support a ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, I was very sceptical. I’d previously been asked to sign up for campaigns claiming that bee declines were due to mobile phones, GM crops, overhead power lines, and various other ec...

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