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Incidents of bee poisoning with pesticides in the United Kingdom, 1994–2003

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For over 20 years, the UK Agriculture Departments have monitored the direct effects of pesticides on beneficial insects, mainly honeybees (Apis mellifera, L.) and bumblebees (Bombus terrestris, L.), as part of the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS). The Central Science Laboratory (CSL) has contributed to WIIS by providing the required laboratory skills for the determination of bee diseases and the expert analytical experience necessary to determine low‐level pesticide residues and interpret these results. The results from WIIS form part of the pesticide regulatory process coordinated by the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) and are published each year. This paper has reviewed the data from WIIS over the 10 year period from 1994 to 2003. The overall trend is that suspected poisoning incidents, reported by beekeepers and the general public, have declined from 56 incidents per year to 23 incidents per year. The number of these incidents that have been attributed to pesticide poisoning has also declined, from 25 incidents to five incidents per year. The possible reasons for these changes and the circumstances involved in the bee poisoning incidents are discussed. However, the source of the pesticide in bee poisoning incidents is often uncertain and the likely cause of these incidents and any trends over time are also discussed. © Crown copyright 2007. Reproduced with the permission of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Keywords: bees; monitoring; pesticides; poisoning

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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