TAP – I wondered where the swallows had gone. We used to have dozens swooping over the grass, and nesting along the front of the house. Only recently they’ve almost disappeared. Owen Paterson might take note.
SWALLOWS, those enduring icons of the British summer, are facing a new threat from a controversial pesticide.
By: John Ingham
Published: Thu, July 10, 2014
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Starlings are among the insect-eating birds pesticides are threatening [ALAMY]
Already at risk, swallows are among 15 insect-eating species whose decline was linked yesterday linked to imidacloprid, the world’s most widely used farm insecticide.
A Dutch study suggests that its effects work their way up the food chain to hit birds such as swallows, starlings (which are even more at risk), skylarks and yellowhammers.
The evidence of pesticides harming our bees, our soil and water, and now birds, is overwhelmingPaul de Zylva, Friends of the Earth
The study, published in the journal Nature, came the day after separate research found the insecticide also harms the ability of bees to find pollen. Friends of the Earth nature campaigner Paul de Zylva said: “The evidence of pesticides harming our bees, our soil and water, and now birds, is overwhelming.”
A spokesman for Bayer CropScience, the inventors of the pesticide, said: “Neonicotinoids have gone through an extensive risk assessment which has shown that they are safe to the environment when used responsibly.”
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Pesticide use is tightly regulated to protect the environment – they are a safe, effective and economicalmeans of managing crops.”
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