A study released recently has found evidence linking the use of pesticides with declines of butterflies and moths in the UK. In light of this Butterfly Conservation is asking for help to carry out more detailed analysis to find specific proof that these chemicals are responsible so we can persuade the Government to review their use.
The study, by Stirling University in association with Butterfly Conservation, looked particularly at Neonicotinoids (Neonics). These were introduced in the mid -1990s and are widely used on crops and also sold for use in gardens.
Neonics are a problem because they …
- are a new type of highly toxic chemical which acts as a nerve agent for insects.
- stay in the environment and reach all parts of the treated crop including surrounding soil.
- get into water courses and adjacent habitats such as field margins and hedgerows where many insects breed.
- spread into pollen and nectar in wildflower strips specifically sown to help butterflies.
In the USA there is strong evidence that these pesticides are killing Monarch butterflies because Neonic residues are getting into milkweed plants that grow around arable crops. Butterfly Conservation says that the same phenomenon could be happening here in Britain and we must find out and stop it continuing.