Study: Pesticides Harm Bees

A researcher challenges the UK government’s 
conclusion that neonicotinoids aren’t that bad for pollinators.

By Kerry Grens | March 27, 2015

A redo on the data analysis of a study by the 
UK’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) 
that concluded 
pesticides do not harm bees has found the 
opposite. The original study was used to form the 
UK government’s controversial position on the use of the chemicals.

“I would argue they didn’t correctly interpret 
their own results,” the University of Sussex’s 
Dave Goulson, who conducted the reanalysis, told 

field study (which was never peer reviewed) found 
that bumblebees were unaffected by exposure to 
certain pesticides. But when Goulson applied a 
different model predicting the bees’ exposure, he 
found the number of queens produced and the 
weight of colonies correlated with exposure.

“Despite the conclusions that were originally 
drawn by FERA, their data appear to provide the 
first clear evidence that colonies of free-flying 
bumblebees exposed to neonicotinoids used as part 
of normal farming practice suffer significant 
impacts in terms of reduced colony growth and 
queen production,” Goulson wrote in his report, 
published in <>PeerJ this week (March 24).

The European Commission has 
neonicotinoid use based on other studies that identified risks to bees.

FERA told Nature: “Whilst there was an absence of 
evidence to support the hypothesis that 
neonicotinoids harm bees, this does not lead to 
the conclusion that they are benign.”

“What this shows is how data can be used to 
support different positions,” Trevor Mansfield, 
head of policy at the Soil Association, told 
Weekly. “That’s why we think it is vital that 
Defra [the UK Department for Environment, Food, 
and Rural Affairs] commits to publishing the 
results­in full­of the research it has funded on 
neonicotinoids and to not making any long-term 
decisions on their future in the UK until 
academics and wider society have had a good 
opportunity to review that data and draw their own conclusions.”

Mitchel Cohen's book, 
Is Direct Action? Lessons from (and to) Occupy 
Wall Street (foreword by Richard Wolff) (596 pages). Get it now!
Click to find new editions of Mitchel's poetry 
Cat Takes Flight and 
Permanent Carnival .

Check out the latest at 
    * <>MONSANTO'S 
ROUNDUP  Found to be a likely Carcinogen
    * <>FREE 
LINA KHATTAB! 18-year-old student imprisoned and beaten, in Israel
    * <>A 
    * <>DRONES 
& TARGETTED KILLINGS including interviews with Marjorie Cohn & Jeanne Mirer
Listen to 
by Mitchel Cohen: 
Permanent Carnival, and 
Memoriam: For Fallen 

    * <>IS 
Biological Determinism, by Mitchel Cohen

Ring the bells that still can ring,  Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen

Realize that little things lead to bigger things 
... And there s a wonderful parable in the New 
Testament: The sower scatters seeds. Some seeds 
fall in the pathway and get stamped on, and they 
don t grow. Some fall on the rocks, and they don 
t grow. But some seeds fall on fallow ground, and 
they grow and multiply a thousandfold. Who knows 
where some good little thing that you ve done may 
bring results years later that you never dreamed of.
~ Pete Seeger