Nav: Home

Long term use of some pesticides is killing off dung beetle populations

July 09, 2018

New research led by scientists at the University of Bristol has uncovered that long-term use of some pesticides to treat cattle for parasites is having a significantly detrimental effect on the dung beetle population.

Researchers studied 24 cattle farms across south west England and found that farms that used certain pesticides had fewer species of dung beetle.

Dr Bryony Sands, from the University's School of Biological Sciences, who led the research, said: "Dung beetles recycle dung pats on pastures, bringing the nutrients back into the soil and ensuring the pastures are fertile.

"Damage to dung beetle populations is therefore concerning, and could result in economic loss for farmers."

This is the first landscape-scale study to show that long-term use of the pesticides has negative impacts on dung beetle populations on farms.

Professor Richard Wall, a co-author on the study, first discovered 30 years ago that pesticide residues in dung could kill these important beetles.

Dr Sands added: "It is now clear that long-term use of these pesticides could cause declines in beetle biodiversity on a large scale."

The study, published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, also found that pesticides known as synthetic pyrethroids were less damaging to dung beetles than macrocyclic lactone pesticides.

These are generally thought of as a safer alternative for farmers who want to protect biodiversity on their farms.

Dr Sands said: "Although these chemicals do appear to be less damaging, farms that used them still had a smaller proportion of certain dung beetles, which are very important in removing dung from pastures by burying it.

"The conservation of dung beetles is vital for the health and future sustainability of our farmland.

"Biodiversity losses such as these could result in loss of the services dung beetles provide to our ecosystems: dung decomposition, nutrient cycling, soil fertility and the preventing disease transmission."

Dr Sands and her colleagues hope the findings of the study will go some way to inform farmers about the negative impacts of these pesticides - some of which now have specific warnings labels on the bottles.
-end-


University of Bristol

Related Pesticides Articles:

Nanozymes -- efficient antidote against pesticides
Members of the Faculty of Chemistry of the Lomonosov Moscow State University have developed novel nanosized agents -- nanozymes, which could be used as efficient protective and antidote modalities against the impact of neurotoxic organophosphorous compounds: pesticides and chemical warfare agents.
Study examines pesticides' impact on wood frogs
A new study looks at how neonicotinoid pesticides affect wood frogs, which use surface waters in agricultural environments to breed and reproduce.
USDA announces $1.8 million for research on next generation pesticides
The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $1.8 million in available funding to research new, environmentally friendly pesticides and innovative tools and strategies to replace an older treatment, methyl bromide.
Light therapy could save bees from deadly pesticides
Treating bees with light therapy can counteract the harmful effects of neonicotinoid pesticides and improve survival rates of poisoned bees, finds a new UCL study.
The effects of pesticides on soil organisms are complex
There are significant interactions between soil management factors, including pesticide application, with respect to effects on soil organisms.
Pesticides used to help bees may actually harm them
Honeybees from chlorothalanil-treated hives showed the greatest change in gut microbiome.
Research associates some pesticides with respiratory wheeze in farmers
New research from North Carolina State University connects several pesticides commonly used by farmers with both allergic and non-allergic wheeze, which can be a sensitive marker for early airway problems.
Electronic nose smells pesticides and nerve gas
Detecting pesticides and nerve gas in very low concentrations. An international team of researchers led by Ivo Stassen and Rob Ameloot from KU Leuven, Belgium, have made it possible.
Honeybees pick up 'astonishing' number of pesticides via non-crop plants
A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.
Common pesticides kill amphibian parasites, study finds
A recent study by Jessica Hua, assistant professor of biological sciences at Binghamton University, and colleagues, explored the effects of six commonly used pesticides on two different populations of a widespread parasite of amphibians.

Related Pesticides Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...