Yesterday (26 March 2013), Defra published its field research on the effects of neonicotinoids on bumblebee colonies (Thompson et al 2013). Here is my understanding of the results.
The study finds fairly consistent exposure to neonicotinoids in free-living bumblebee colonies. One or more of the chemicals were found in at least some colonies at all three test sites, including the control site, which was next to a 6.5 ha field of oilseed rape not treated with neonicotinoid.
Lynn Dicks explains why one headline from an industry-funded neonicotinoid report was disingenuous.
In January, a report commissioned by Bayer and Syngenta calculated the economic value of neonicotinoid insecticides to Europe . These companies are the major manufacturers of neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that the European Commission proposes to partially ban from July because they pose unacceptable risks to bees.