The Impact of a Pesticide Ban on a Pollinator Community

Pollinators provide a crop pollination service worth £174 to £346 billion each year and 90% of flowering plants depend on animal-mediated pollinator services. While the impact of pesticides on this service is a cause of significant concern worldwide, most research on this topic has been limited in scope and environmental realism, with the majority of studies limited to a single pollinator species under laboratory conditions. However, in Guernsey – an island undergoing a pesticide ban – we have a unique one-off opportunity to test the impact of pesticides on a whole pollinator community at the scale of an entire ecological system. Moreover, we have replicate islands nearby to use as controls and we have already collected a considerable quantity of baseline data on pollinator population density and community structure prior to the ban.

This project aims to quantify the impact of a pesticide ban on a pollinator community and test for cascading impacts on the wider food web. The ban is being implemented on the island of Guernsey, and we will use three neighbouring islands (Jersey, Alderney and Sark) as controls.

This will allow the team to quantify the impact of the pesticide ban on migratory populations of the buff tailed bumblebee, five species of hoverfly and two species of moth, predicting increases in all these indicator species following the ban. The project will run Feb 2024-2028 and is funded by NERC.


Jane Memmott, Professor of Ecology, School of Biological Sciences

This project is associated with the MMB Challenge on Bodies, things, capital