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Study shows neonicotinoids can harm bees
Researchers exposed bees to winter-sown oilseed rape that had been treated with two different neonicotinoids.
Researchers assess effect of the pesticides across Europe

The largest study so far on neonicotinoid pesticides has concluded that they do cause harm to some species of bee.

Published in Science, the study found that neonicotinoids reduce the capacity of honeybees and wild bees to establish new populations in the year following exposure.

The effects of the pesticides were assessed across Hungary, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Speaking to BBC News, study author Professor Richard Pywell stated that the findings are cause for serious concern.

"We've shown for the first time negative effects of neonicotinoid-coated seed dressings on honeybees and we've also shown similar negative effects on wild bees,” he said.

"This is important because many crops globally are insect pollinated and without pollinators, we would struggle to produce some foods."

In the study, researchers exposed bees to winter-sown oilseed rape that had been treated with two different neonicotinoids - clothianidin and thiamethoxam - in addition to untreated oilseed rape.

For honeybees, the researchers found both negative and positive effects during crop flowering. In Hungary, negative effects on honey bees persisted over winter and resulted in smaller colonies the following spring. In wild bees, reproduction was negatively correlated with neonicotinoid residues.

Neonicotinoid producer Bayer, which part-funded the study, said in a press release that the findings were ‘inclusive’ and that it remained convinced that neonicotinoids have no short or long-term negative effect on bees.

Dr Richard Schmuck, director of environmental science at Bayer said: “We do not share the CEH’s interpretation that adverse effects of the seed treatments can be concluded from this study, and remain confident that neonicotinoids are safe when used and applied responsibly.”

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Classroom pets on the decline

News Story 1
 New research has found there are fewer pets in UK classrooms than in previous generations - despite 88 per cent of parents believing it significantly helps a child’s social skills and development.

More than half of the parents surveyed by Pets at Home (51 per cent) had a class pet as a child, compared to 46 per cent of children today.

The survey also found that non-traditional animals such as chickens, tadpoles, caterpillars and stick insects are becoming increasingly popular alternatives as classroom pets.  

News Shorts
BVA survey seeks views on surveillance

Vets who use veterinary scanning surveillance networks are being asked to complete a survey to help ensure the networks are fully able to protect animals in the UK.

‘Surveillance use, understanding and engagement across the veterinary profession’ is the first of a series of surveillance surveys that will also include localised surveys for Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Drafted by members of BVA’s Surveillance Working Group, it will run until Friday, 31 August 2017. Data collected will inform BVA’s policy position ensuring it is representative of disease surveillance across the UK.