Common pesticides stop bees and flies from getting a good night’s sleep և disturb their memories

Researchers are urging the UK to adhere to the EU ban on pesticides, which have a detrimental effect on pollinators.

Just like us, many insects need a good night’s sleep to function properly, but this will not be possible if they have been exposed to neonicotinoid insects, the most common insecticide in the world, according to a study by academics. University of Bristol,

Two studies by scientists at the Bristol School of Physiology, Pharmacology, Neurology and Biology have shown that these insecticides affect the sleep of both bumblebees and fruit flies, which may help us understand why insect pollinators are disappearing from the wild.

Dr. Kias Tasman, Associate Professor of Physiology, Pharmacology, School of Neurology, lead author of the study, said: “The neonicotinoids we tested had a profound effect on the sleep of both flies and bees. “If the insect was exposed to the same amount as it could feel on the farm where the herbicide was applied, it would sleep less, and its daily rhythms would be subtracted from the normal 24-hour cycle of day and night.”

The study of fruit flies, published today (January 21, 2021) Scientific reports, allowed researchers to study the effects of pesticides on insect brains.

In addition to finding that typical agricultural concentrations of neonicotinoids impair the ability of flies to remember, researchers have seen changes in the flying brain clock that control its 24-hour cycle day and night.

Dr. James Ames Hodge, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Senior Research Fellow, School of Physiology, Pharmacology, School of Neurology, added: “Tell the time և to know when to be awake, fodder, as if those insects could not sleep. We know that quality sleep is as important for insects as it is for humans to create lasting memories of their health. ”

Dr. Sean Rands, senior lecturer and co-author of the School of Biological Sciences, explained “Bees and flies have brain-like structures. This suggests that these drugs are so bad for bees that they need to sleep and then be able to learn where the food is in their environment.”

“Neonicotinoids are currently banned in the EU, we hope it will continue in the UK when we leave EU legislation.”


Tasman K, Hidalgo S, Zhu B, Rands SA & Hodge JJL “Neonicotinoids Disrupt Memory, Circadian Behavior և Sleep” January 21, 2021 Scientific reports,
DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-021-81548-2:

“The neonicotinoid insecticide imidaclopride disrupts the rhythm of bumblebee food and sleep” by Kiah Tasman, Sean A. Rands և James Ames L. E. Hodge, 19 November 2020, iScience:,
DOI: 10.1016 / j.isci.2020.101827:

About Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world, accounting for almost 25 percent of the global insecticide market, valued at $ 1 billion a year. Intensive use of pesticides is associated with a global decline in pollinating insects; all four major types of neonicotinoids are generally banned in the EU and currently in the UK.

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