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Bumblebees flying and pollinating a creeping thyme flower. emeliemaria / iStock / Getty Images

It pays to pollinate in Minnesota.

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A monarch butterfly before migration to Mexico on Oct. 21, 2018 at the Mobile Botanical Gardens in Alabama. patricia pierce / CC BY 2.0

The yearly count of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico, released Wednesday, shows an increase of 144 percent from last year's count and is the highest count since 2006. That's good news for a species whose numbers had fallen in recent years, but conservationists say the monarch continues to need Endangered Species Act protection.

The count of 6.05 hectares of occupied forest is up from 2.48 hectares last winter. The increase is attributable to favorable weather during the spring and summer breeding seasons and during the fall migration. Monarchs have lost an estimated 165 million acres of breeding habitat in the U.S. to herbicide spraying and development.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Bumblebees are important agricultural pollinators, so their decline is cause for concern. James Johnstone / CC BY 2.0

As evidence builds that neonicotinoids harm bees and other pollinators and bodies like the EU move to ban them, the agricultural sector is casting about for something to replace what is currently the most-used type of insecticide worldwide.

But a study published in Nature Wednesday serves as a warning that any new pesticides must be properly vetted.

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Beekeeper Jeff Anderson works with members of his family in this photo from 2014. He once employed all of his adult children but can no longer afford to do so. CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.

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PxHere

By Dan Nosowitz

Neonicotinoid pesticides have commonly been linked to the plight of honeybees.

But a new study from the University of Guelph finds that honeybees aren't the only non-pest creatures that are coming into contact with the pesticides.

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Soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoids (blue) and treated corn seeds (red) versus untreated seeds. Ian Grettenberger / PennState University, CC BY-ND

By John F. Tooker

Planting season for corn and soybeans across the U.S. corn belt is drawing to a close. As they plant, farmers are participating in what is likely to be one of the largest deployments of insecticides in U.S. history.

Almost every field corn seed planted this year in the U.S.—approximately 90 million acres' worth—will be coated with neonicotinoid insecticides, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. The same is true for seeds in about half of U.S. soybeans—roughly 45 million acres and nearly all cotton—about 14 million acres. In total, by my estimate, these insecticides will be used across at least 150 million acres of cropland, an area about the size the Texas.

Read More Show Less
A bumblebee on a flower. Viktoria Rodriguez / EyeEm / Getty Images

A new study has found that exposure to certain pesticides can alter bees' genes, leading researchers to call for tougher regulations on the widely-used chemicals.

The study, published Wednesday in Molecular Ecology, looked at the impact of two neonicotinoid pesticides on bumblebee populations and found that they impacted genes involved in a variety of important biological processes.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Daniel Raichel

As massive numbers of bees and other pollinators keep dying across the globe, study after study continues to connect these deaths to neonicotinoid pesticides (A.K.A. "neonics"). With the science piling up, and other countries starting to take critical pollinator-saving action, here's a quick primer on all things neonics:

Read More Show Less

Trending

By Sue Branford and Thais Borges

With the ruralist lobby now in control of key sectors of the federal government, Brazil is rapidly approving new pesticides for use, some of which critics say are either unnecessary or excessively toxic. During the first 100 days of the Jair Bolsonaro administration, the Agriculture Ministry authorized the registration of 152 pesticides, putting Brazil on course to authorize more pesticides this year than in any previous year. Brazil is already the world's largest user of pesticides.

Read More Show Less
Greenpeace EU / Twitter

European governments approved Friday a proposal to widen a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that studies have found are harmful to bees and other pollinators.

The move completely bans the outdoor uses of three neonicotinoids, or neonics, across the European Union. They include Bayer CropScience's imidacloprid, Syngenta's thiamethoxam and clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience.

Read More Show Less
Mint Images / Getty Images

More than 40 percent of the world's insects could go extinct in the next few decades, according to a report that lead author Francisco Sánchez-Bayo told CNN was the first global review of the threats facing the class that makes up 70 percent of earth's animals.

A third of insects are endangered species, and they are going extinct at a rate eight times that of birds, mammals and reptiles. That amounts to a loss of 2.5 percent of insect mass every year over the last three decades.

Read More Show Less
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Bumblebees flying and pollinating a creeping thyme flower. emeliemaria / iStock / Getty Images

It pays to pollinate in Minnesota.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly before migration to Mexico on Oct. 21, 2018 at the Mobile Botanical Gardens in Alabama. patricia pierce / CC BY 2.0

The yearly count of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico, released Wednesday, shows an increase of 144 percent from last year's count and is the highest count since 2006. That's good news for a species whose numbers had fallen in recent years, but conservationists say the monarch continues to need Endangered Species Act protection.

The count of 6.05 hectares of occupied forest is up from 2.48 hectares last winter. The increase is attributable to favorable weather during the spring and summer breeding seasons and during the fall migration. Monarchs have lost an estimated 165 million acres of breeding habitat in the U.S. to herbicide spraying and development.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Bumblebees are important agricultural pollinators, so their decline is cause for concern. James Johnstone / CC BY 2.0

As evidence builds that neonicotinoids harm bees and other pollinators and bodies like the EU move to ban them, the agricultural sector is casting about for something to replace what is currently the most-used type of insecticide worldwide.

But a study published in Nature Wednesday serves as a warning that any new pesticides must be properly vetted.

Read More Show Less
Beekeeper Jeff Anderson works with members of his family in this photo from 2014. He once employed all of his adult children but can no longer afford to do so. CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.

Read More Show Less
PxHere

By Dan Nosowitz

Neonicotinoid pesticides have commonly been linked to the plight of honeybees.

But a new study from the University of Guelph finds that honeybees aren't the only non-pest creatures that are coming into contact with the pesticides.

Read More Show Less
Soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoids (blue) and treated corn seeds (red) versus untreated seeds. Ian Grettenberger / PennState University, CC BY-ND

By John F. Tooker

Planting season for corn and soybeans across the U.S. corn belt is drawing to a close. As they plant, farmers are participating in what is likely to be one of the largest deployments of insecticides in U.S. history.

Almost every field corn seed planted this year in the U.S.—approximately 90 million acres' worth—will be coated with neonicotinoid insecticides, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. The same is true for seeds in about half of U.S. soybeans—roughly 45 million acres and nearly all cotton—about 14 million acres. In total, by my estimate, these insecticides will be used across at least 150 million acres of cropland, an area about the size the Texas.

Read More Show Less
A bumblebee on a flower. Viktoria Rodriguez / EyeEm / Getty Images

A new study has found that exposure to certain pesticides can alter bees' genes, leading researchers to call for tougher regulations on the widely-used chemicals.

The study, published Wednesday in Molecular Ecology, looked at the impact of two neonicotinoid pesticides on bumblebee populations and found that they impacted genes involved in a variety of important biological processes.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Daniel Raichel

As massive numbers of bees and other pollinators keep dying across the globe, study after study continues to connect these deaths to neonicotinoid pesticides (A.K.A. "neonics"). With the science piling up, and other countries starting to take critical pollinator-saving action, here's a quick primer on all things neonics:

Read More Show Less

Trending

By Sue Branford and Thais Borges

With the ruralist lobby now in control of key sectors of the federal government, Brazil is rapidly approving new pesticides for use, some of which critics say are either unnecessary or excessively toxic. During the first 100 days of the Jair Bolsonaro administration, the Agriculture Ministry authorized the registration of 152 pesticides, putting Brazil on course to authorize more pesticides this year than in any previous year. Brazil is already the world's largest user of pesticides.

Read More Show Less
Greenpeace EU / Twitter

European governments approved Friday a proposal to widen a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that studies have found are harmful to bees and other pollinators.

The move completely bans the outdoor uses of three neonicotinoids, or neonics, across the European Union. They include Bayer CropScience's imidacloprid, Syngenta's thiamethoxam and clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience.

Read More Show Less
Mint Images / Getty Images

More than 40 percent of the world's insects could go extinct in the next few decades, according to a report that lead author Francisco Sánchez-Bayo told CNN was the first global review of the threats facing the class that makes up 70 percent of earth's animals.

A third of insects are endangered species, and they are going extinct at a rate eight times that of birds, mammals and reptiles. That amounts to a loss of 2.5 percent of insect mass every year over the last three decades.

Read More Show Less
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Pexels

The Center for Biological Diversity Thursday urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deny Bayer CropScience's request to allow the highly bee-toxic pesticide flupyradifurone to be sprayed on tobacco in states like Kentucky and North Carolina.

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Bees like this one could be harmed by the lifting of a ban on neonicotinoids in national wildlife refuges. Mark Winterbourne / CC BY 2.0

The Trump administration has lifted an Obama-era ban on the use of genetically modified crops and pesticides linked to bee decline in certain national wildlife refuges where farming is allowed, Reuters reported Saturday.

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Mark Helm / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Beekeepers in and around Cape Town, South Africa are facing significant losses of their pollinators in recent weeks.

The mass deaths have been linked to an insecticide called fipronil that was likely incorrectly used by the area's wine farmers, according to media reports.

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Moment / Getty Images
Campaigners say that the EU's domestic ivory trade puts elephants like these at risk from poachers. Ikiwaner / GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

From bee-killing pesticides to single-use plastics, we can usually rely on the European Union to ban substances and activities that harm wildlife. That's why it's shocking and saddening to learn that the European Commission is walking back a commitment to end its domestic ivory trade, as The Independent reported early Thursday.

The EU banned raw ivory exports in 2017, but many rightly argue that this is not enough to discourage poachers from targeting elephants and slipping illegal items into the EU's legal trade. The U.S., China and the UK have all moved forward with full bans, so the EU is uncharacteristically behind the times on this one.

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An Asian elephant eating tree bark. Yathin S Krishnappa / CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientists are increasingly realizing the importance of biodiversity for sustaining life on earth. The most comprehensive biodiversity study in a decade, published in March by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), warned that the ongoing loss of species and habitats was as great a threat to our and our planet's wellbeing as climate change.