Neonics and butterflies

Yesterday a scientific paper was published which asked whether the widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides were linked to the decline of a number of widespread butterflies. The neonicotinoid insecticides are already highly controversial as they have also been linked to the decline of bees. You can download and read the paper here.

Small T

The paper concludes “The declines in butterflies have largely occurred in England, where neonicotinoid usage is at its highest. In Scotland, where neonicotinoid usage is comparatively low, butterfly numbers are stable. Further research is needed urgently to show whether there is a causal link between neonicotinoid usage and the decline of widespread butterflies or whether it simply represents a proxy for other environmental factors associated with intensive agriculture.”

The study was conducted by academics from the Universities of Sterling and Sussex, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Butterfly Conservation. All very worrying – more research is clearly needed to untangle the story further.



3 thoughts on “Neonics and butterflies

  1. I think the clue is in the word ‘insecticide’ Anyone who thinks neonics aren’t going to affect wider insect species detrimentally are living with their head in the clouds.
    It’s good to see science catching up though.
    There’s also research being done that indicates neonics are affecting bird species as well & the EU have just passed a licence for a new ‘neonic like’ pesticide despite concerns for the safety avian species & small mammals.
    Business as usual.

      • My pleasure. I’ve been a beekeeper for many years & watching the neonic problem develop for the last five or six. There’s a lot of science out there that points the finger squarely at their detrimental effects on the environment.
        I doubt they get used much on Dartmoor which is a blessing. Oil seed rape, fodder maize (maize again 😉 ) & sugar beet used to be the main crops that used them in the UK before the ban. Luckily none grown near me here in South Cornwall so no problems with my bees. Some garden pesticides have them & amenity horticulture (vine weevil control). Gardeners could be buying plants from the garden centre for their bees & butterflies & inadvertently killing them.
        If people want to grow plants for insects it’s wiser to grow from seed at home.

        Sorry for the rant!! lol.

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