Feb 222017
 
The Vanishing: Europe’s farmland birds

The Head of Conservation for BirdLife Europe & Central Asia explains how intensive agriculture has made farmland birds one of the most threatened bird groups in Europe. Once upon a time, they were all around us – sights and sounds as familiar as the dusky skies their flocks danced in or the wind whistling through […]

Feb 172017
 
POLL: Should there be a complete ban on neonics to save our bees?

The most widely used class of insecticides in the world is facing a slow death. Called neonicotinoids, or neonics, these bug killers have long been used to treat millions of acres of farmland in the US. But research showing that they sicken or kill bees and other pollinators means neonics could soon lose their grip […]

Dec 212016
 
POLL: Should neonicotinoid pesticides be banned to save our bees?

The world’s most widely used insecticides harm the ability of bees to vibrate flowers and shake out the pollen to fertilise crops, according to preliminary results from a new study. Some flowers, such as those of crops like tomatoes and potatoes, must be shaken to release pollen and bumblebees are particularly good at creating the […]

Sep 122016
 
POLL: Should anti-Zika toxin be sprayed over public areas?

Huddled around their hives, beekeepers around the south-eastern US fear a new threat to their livelihood: a fine mist beaded with neurotoxin, sprayed from the sky by officials at war with mosquitos that carry the Zika virus. Earlier this week, South Carolina beekeepers found millions of dead honey bees carpeting their apiaries, killed by an […]

May 202016
 
POLL: Should neonicotinoid pesticides be banned to save our bees?

More than a quarter of American honeybee colonies were wiped out over the winter, with deadly infestations of mites and harmful land management practices heaping mounting pressure upon the crucial pollinators and the businesses that keep them. Preliminary figures commissioned by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that 28% of bee colonies in the […]

Mar 312016
 
Bees and other pollinators are in dire need of help

Around the world, the animals that pollinate our food crops —over 20,000 species of bees, butterflies, bats and many others —are the subject of growing attention. An increasing number of pollinator species are thought to be in decline, threatened by a variety of mostly human pressures, and their struggles could pose significant risksfor global food […]

Feb 202016
 
Meet pesticides, the silent bird killers that protect our crops

The illegal killing of birds with poisoned baits and their accidental deaths from pesticides occurs on a global scale: Tens of millions have died, leading to a decline in numerous species’ populations. Birds of prey are targeted with poison baits if they are seen as predators by racing-pigeon enthusiasts, gamekeepers, livestock farmers, poultry farmers and […]

Feb 192016
 
POLL:  Should we wipe mosquitoes off the face of the Earth?

When an Aedes aegypti mosquito bites you, she – because only the females, which need blood as nutrients for their offspring, bite – will probe your skin with her proboscis as many as 20 times. Two pairs of sharp cutting edges, the fascicle, break the skin and then search for a blood vessel, withdrawing and […]

Dec 062015
 
Bees and pesticides 'missing link' found

Scientists say they have found the “missing link” in the debate over the risk of pesticides to bees. French researchers say neonicotinoid pesticides harm individual honeybees, but whole colonies are able to recover in the wild. This accounts for discrepancies between lab and field studies, they report in Royal Society journal Proceedings B. A Europe-wide […]

Nov 102013
 
Galápagos finches that inspired Darwin under threat from parasitical flies

The Galápagos finches are part of the history of science. Darwin collected them during the round-the-world voyage of HMS Beagle and their study helped the naturalist conceive the theory of evolution. Although all the birds belonged to a single group, the 14 species were spread across different islands in the archipelago. Darwin developed the idea […]

Jun 062013
 
California's 'Dwarf' Fox Is Back From the Brink

Kneeling in the dirt beneath a sycamore tree, Christie Boser cradled the endangered island fox in her lap, firmly gripping its neck with a gloved hand while using the other to slip on a green blindfold that would keep the animal calm. It had been captured the night before, lured into a metal cage by […]

May 072013
 
Pest caterpillars face helicopter blitz with insecticide

The Forestry Commission is so concerned about the spread of caterpillars that can strip oak trees bare and cause serious health problems among people that it is to use a helicopter to blanket-spray woodland with insecticide within days. The oak processionary moth, a native of southern and central Europe, has become established in south-west London […]