Swiss water contains too much pesticide, says water industry

More must be urgently done to protect Switzerland’s drinking water, according the Swiss water and gas industry association (SSIGE). One fifth of drinking water samples analysed by the national underground water testing organisation (NAQUA), contained levels of pesticides and nitrates above acceptable levels. And 30% of measurement points, contained very high levels. The highest concentrations were found in underground water, which supplies 80% of Swiss drinking water, mainly in areas with intensive agriculture.

White-headed ducks fall into drastic decline

The white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) probably had a global population of over 100,000 in the early 20th century; in the 1930s an estimated 50,000 wintered on the Caspian Sea. However, by 1991 the population was estimated at a mere 19,000 ducks. Over the last 100 years the white-headed duck has become extinct as a breeding bird in Albania, Azerbaijan, Corsica, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, and former Yugoslavia. Despite the historical declines, however, there was some optimism in 1991, since the population was thought to be relatively stable. Since 1991 that optimism has faded.

Concern over pesticides in Swiss drinking water supplies

Higher-than-normal levels of pesticides have been found in 20% of the nation’s drinking water supplies from groundwater, prompting industry calls for tougher action to cut the costs of treating the water. A fifth of the samples seen in national monitoring data contained pesticide levels higher than the acceptable limit of 0.1 microgram (0.001 milligram) per liter. Some measurement points even exceeded 70%, Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported on Sunday. “There is a need for action,” said Martin Sager, director of the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association.

Herring gull population has dropped by 50% in 25 years

Some people class herring gulls as ’vermin’, not least because they can be aggressive towards humans when they are protecting their young, and, as anyone trying to eat an ice-cream on Peel Promenade will testify, they will dive-bomb remorselessly in order to steal food. But because these super-intelligent birds are such efficient scavengers, eating pretty much anything, they help to keep our towns and beaches clean. You might think that herring gulls (Larus argentatus) are everywhere, and that there are too many of them.

Disturbing decline in silkworm and sphinx moth populations across northeastern North America

With 165,000 described species worldwide, moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on Earth. Let's begin by distinguishing moths from butterflies. Butterflies have club-like knobs on the ends of their antennae and usually perch with their wings held upwards. Moths, on the other hand, tend to perch with their wings outspread and have antennae that closely resemble bird feathers. Both moths and butterflies make a protective covering for the pupal stage of development.

Mosquito Pesticide Sprayed All Over Miami Linked to Autism in Kids

Every year toward the beginning of rainy season, dense clouds of black salt marsh mosquitoes begin rising from the Everglades and coastal wetlands and descending upon Miami. For years, Miami and the Keys have fought back with a powerful tool: permethrin, a pesticide effective at killing the insects before they can make life miserable for South Florida.

Baya weavers now extinct in Delhi

A week-long survey, conducted throughout the country to count the number of Weaver Baya (Ploceus philippinus), did not find a single bird in Delhi and the areas around it. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), an NGO involved in conservation and biodiversity research, conducted the bird monitoring programme. The bird watcher spotted only 880 individual Baya throughout the country between June 4 and 10.

EPA Releases Ecological Risk Assessments for Neonicotinoids and Announces Next Steps in Registration Review

On May 25, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of ecological risk assessments for four neonicotinoid active ingredients for public comment as well as the Registration Review Update for Four Neonicotinoid Insecticides (Update). 82 Fed. Reg. 24113. The ecological risk assessments are:

Neonicotinoid insecticide residues in New Zealand maize paddock soil

Neonicotinoid are the most commonly used class of insecticides. Between 2005 and 2010 neonicotinoid use in the USA and UK more than doubled. Anecdotal evidence suggests similar trends exist in New Zealand, where neonicotinoid seed coatings are now often applied prophylactically in contravention of the principles of Integrated Pest Management. This widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides is controversial due to a lack of understanding about their persistence in the environment and the long-term consequences of their use.

North American Bank Swallow numbers declined by 94% from 1966 to 2014

Swallows are small, speedy, short-winged aerial hunters with slender bodies and pointed wings and a tail, just like a jet airplane. The birds are quick and graceful in flight, often catching a variety of flying insects in midair during a long, dizzying air travel pattern near the water or in a meadow. These short-billed aerial hunters know exactly what they are doing. A single Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) , for example, can consume 60 insects per hour, an amazing 850 per day. The small birds are surely one of Mother Nature’s most successful avian insect predators.