What’s the meta with bees? Pesticides influence bee learning and memory

Harry Siviter’s article, Quantifying the impact of pesticides on learning and memory, was published yesterday (Wednesday 11th July 2018). Here he explains why policy makers need to consider the effects of agrochemicals on pollinators. Foraging bees have a tough time of it. In social bees, such as bumblebees and honeybees, workers have to forage across large landscapes, collecting nectar and pollen from flowers as they … Continue reading What’s the meta with bees? Pesticides influence bee learning and memory

Strawberry fields forever – with Spanish translation

In this post, Associate Editor, Cristina Garcia comments on the effects of pesticides on pollinators and the recent article by Horth & Campbell, Supplementing small farms with native mason bees increases strawberry size and growth rate. Cristina has also provided a Spanish translation of this post. Most plant species, including crops, require mutualistic interactions with animals to pollinate their flowers and fulfill their demographic cycle. The … Continue reading Strawberry fields forever – with Spanish translation

Fatal attraction of Spotted Wing Drosophila to a yeast symbiont, for sustainable control

In this blog post Joelle Lemmen, Alix Whitener, Boyd Mori and Peter Witzgall discuss the recent paper by Boyd Mori and colleagues ‘Enhanced yeast feeding following mating facilitates control of the invasive fruit pest Drosophila suzukii‘ Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is currently the most economically important insect in Europe and North America. SWD damages a wide range of our favourite berries and soft fruit, including … Continue reading Fatal attraction of Spotted Wing Drosophila to a yeast symbiont, for sustainable control

Engineering soil complexity

In this post Kirsty Lees discusses the recent paper from Alice Johnston and colleagues ‘Effects of agricultural management practices on earthworm populations and crop yield: validation and application of a mechanistic modelling approach’ Healthy soils are essential to the provision of ecosystem services; however, increasing intensification has resulted in soil degradation in many arable systems threatening water quality, carbon storage and ultimately food security. Any … Continue reading Engineering soil complexity

Safeguarding ecosystem functions of aquatic microbial communities

In this post, Jochen Zubrod talks about his recent paper “Inorganic fungicides as routinely applied in organic and conventional agriculture can increase palatability but reduce microbial decomposition of leaf litter“ The use of fungicides is considered an indispensable measure to secure global food supply. However, as an unwanted consequence of their application, these compounds also enter freshwater ecosystems, where they, due to their mode-of-action, likely affect … Continue reading Safeguarding ecosystem functions of aquatic microbial communities

Silent Spring redux? Insecticides cascade up a food chain to poison carnivores

In this post, Ian Kaplan discusses a paper he recently handled by Margaret Douglas, Jason Rohr and John Tooker “Neonicotinoid insecticide travels through a soil food chain, disrupting biological control of non-target pests and decreasing soybean yield.“. The authors have also written a practitioner summary  and a press release “Insecticides foster ‘toxic’ slugs, reduce crop yields” for this paper. Despite being published >50 years ago, almost everyone … Continue reading Silent Spring redux? Insecticides cascade up a food chain to poison carnivores