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Science AMA Series: Hi Reddit! I’m Richard Pywell, Professor at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK and I’ve just completed the largest field experiment ever to assess the impacts of neonicotinoids on the honeybee and two wild bee species. AMA!
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Neonicotinoids are a group of pesticides that can be applied as seed coatings and are designed to protect crops such as oilseed rape (also known as canola), but were banned by the EU in 2013 due to concerns regarding their impact on bee health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a registration review for four neonicotinoids which is expected to be completed in 2018. We allowed bees to forage on winter oilseed rape crops treated with neonicotinoids seed coatings on farms in the UK, Germany and Hungary over an area equivalent to 3,000 full-sized soccer pitches. You can read the peer-reviewed paper as published in Science here. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6345/1393 I am on the Sense about Science Plant Science Panel, where anyone can ask a question and get an answer from a scientist. The Panel is made up of over 50 independent plant science researchers. You can ask questions to them on Twitter (@senseaboutsci #plantsci) or Facebook. Answers are sent back within a couple of days and posted online. The Panel has answered over 400 questions during the last five years and it’s a great way to cut through the noise around what can sometimes be a really polarised debate. I will be back at 12 pm EDT (5 pm GMT, 9 am PST) to answer all your questions.