Citizen science monitoring reveals links between honeybee health, pesticide exposure and seasonal availability of floral resources

Woodcock, Ben A. ORCID:; Oliver, Anna E.; Newbold, Lindsay K. ORCID:; Gweon, H. Soon; Read, Daniel S. ORCID:; Sayed, Ujala; Savage, Joanna; Bacon, Jim; Upcott, Emily; Howell, Katherine; Turvey, Katharine; Roy, David B. ORCID:; Pereira, M. Gloria ORCID:; Sleep, Darren ORCID:; Greenop, Arran; Pywell, Richard ORCID: 2022 Citizen science monitoring reveals links between honeybee health, pesticide exposure and seasonal availability of floral resources. Scientific Reports, 12, 14331. 13, pp.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
N534880JA.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (2MB) | Preview


We use a national citizen science monitoring scheme to quantify how agricultural intensification affects honeybee diet breadth (number of plant species). To do this we used DNA metabarcoding to identify the plants present in 527 honey samples collected in 2019 across Great Britain. The species richness of forage plants was negatively correlated with arable cropping area, although this was only found early in the year when the abundance of flowering plants was more limited. Within intensively farmed areas, honeybee diets were dominated by Brassica crops (including oilseed rape). We demonstrate how the structure and complexity of honeybee foraging relationships with plants is negatively affected by the area of arable crops surrounding hives. Using information collected from the beekeepers on the incidence of an economically damaging bee disease (Deformed Wing Virus) we found that the occurrence of this disease increased where bees foraged in agricultural land where there was a high use of foliar insecticides. Understanding impacts of land use on resource availability is fundamental to assessing long-term viability of pollinator populations. These findings highlight the importance of supporting temporally timed resources as mitigation strategies to support wider pollinator population viability.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: agroecology, biodiversity, ecosystem services, environmental impact
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 05 Jul 2023 15:14 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...