Monitoring Neonicotinoid Exposure for Bees in Rural and Peri-urban Areas of the UK during the Transition from Pre- to Post-moratorium

Abstract : Concerns regarding the impact of neonicotinoid exposure on bee populations recently led to an EU-wide moratorium on the use of certain neonicotinoids on flowering crops. Currently, evidence regarding the impact, if any, the moratorium has had on bees' exposure is limited. We sampled pollen and nectar from bumblebee colonies in rural and peri-urban habitats in three U.K. regions Stirlingshire, Hertfordshire, and Sussex. Colonies were sampled over three years prior to the ban (2013), during the initial implementation when some seed-treated winter-sown oilseed rape was still grown (2014), and following the ban (2015). To compare species-level differences, in 2014 only, honeybee colonies in rural habitats were also sampled. Over half of all samples were found to be contaminated (n = 408), with thiamethoxam being the compound detected at the highest concentrations in honeybee- (up to 2.29 ng/g in nectar in 2014, median <= 0.1 ng/g, n = 79) and bumblebee-collected pollen and nectar (up to 38.77 ng/g in pollen in 2013, median <= 0.12 ng/g, n = 76). Honeybees were exposed to higher concentrations of neonicotinoids than bumblebees in 2014. While neonicotinoid exposure for rural bumblebees declined post-ban (2015), suggesting a positive impact of the moratorium, the risk of neonicotinoid exposure for bumblebees in peri-urban habitats remained largely the same between 2013 and 2015.
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Elizabeth Nicholls, Cristina Botias, Ellen L. Rotheray, Penelope Whitehorn, Arthur David, et al.. Monitoring Neonicotinoid Exposure for Bees in Rural and Peri-urban Areas of the UK during the Transition from Pre- to Post-moratorium. Environmental Science & Technology, American Chemical Society, 2018, 52 (16), pp.9391-9402. ⟨10.1021/acs.est.7b06573⟩. ⟨hal-01901001⟩

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