1 Introduction</h5> The pollination services of wild bees help to maintain plant species in natural ecosystems and are worth billions of dollars annually to agriculture ( Williams and Osborne, 2009; Winfree, 2010 ). Evidence of declining wild bee populations ( Biesmeijer et al., 2006 ) and the extirpation of certain species ( Burkle et al., 2013 ) are therefore issues of increasing concern ( Vanbergen, 2013 ). It is widely acknowledged that several factors are driving declines in wild bees ( Williams and Osborne, 2009; Potts et al., 2010 ). However, a group of neurotoxic pesticides, the neonicotinoids, have specifically been singled out for blame ( Shardlow, 2013 ), which has led to calls for restrictions on their use in agricultural ( EFSA, 2013a; Maxim and van der Sluijs, 2013 ) that have recently been implemented across the European Union ( European Commission, 2013 ). The neonicotinoids, which include imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, are systemic and so the pesticide is distributed throughout plant tissues to control sucking insect pests ( Elbert et al., 2008 ). Consequently, trace residues can appear in nectar and pollen ( Blacquière et al., 2012 ) and bees are exposed to dietary neonicotinoids by
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2014
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