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

Pesticide Touted as Neonicotinoid Replacement Still Harms Bees

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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A farmer spreads pesticide to her crops. IFPRI - IMAGES

What Would a Monsanto-Bayer Merger Really Grow?

By Courtney Lindwall

A megamerger between two of the world's biggest agricultural corporations looms on the horizon. The seed and pesticide giant Monsanto is inching closer to uniting with the German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer—a consolidation that could spell disaster for farmers, pollinators, and affordable, healthy food.

Here's why the Monsanto-Bayer merger is a toxic relationship:

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Animals
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

Trump Admin Reverses Ban on 'Bee-Killing' Pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges

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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Pexels

Great Fall-Blooming Plants for Pollinators

By David Mizejewski

Want to help bees?

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Animals
Low doses of most pesticides impair bees' learning and memory. Richard / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Low Doses of Pesticides Make It Harder for Bees to Find Flowers

A review of a decade of research of the impact of pesticides on bees found that even low doses commonly used in agriculture hurt the bees' learning and memory, a Royal Holloway, University of London press release reported.

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Applied Ecology, found the bees' ability to remember floral scents was harmed even by pesticides not covered by Europe's recent ban on neonicotinoids.

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Bee and cactus in Tucson, Arizona. Anne Reeves / CC BY-ND 2.0

Climate Change Could Drive Bees in Warmer Regions to Extinction

Bees, already under pressure from pesticides, could be further threatened by climate change, research published Wednesday in Functional Ecology suggests.

Scientists at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden conducted a two-year study of the blueberry mason bee (Osmia ribifloris) native to the Western U.S. and Northern Mexico. They found that, when a group of bees was exposed to temperatures predicted for Arizona from 2040 to 2099, 35 percent of them died off the first year and 70 percent the year after, a Northwestern University press release reported.

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Animals
Max Pixel / CC

Fl. Homeowner Regrets Killing Thousands of Honeybees

Bees are vital pollinators, and the consequences of their dying population could have far-reaching impacts to our food chain.

That's why a woman in Cape Coral in southwest Florida expressed regret after calling pest control to exterminate thousands of honeybees that swarmed her garage and SUV on Saturday.

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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

Why It’s Time to Curb Widespread Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticide

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.

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Food

Without Bees, the Foods We Love Will Be Lost

Below is a transcript of the video.

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