Project overview

Here we aimed to quantify the impact on honeybees of two commercial neonicotinoid-based seed treatments in commercially grown crops of oilseed rape (‘Clothianidin’ Bayer CropScience and ‘Thiamethoxam’ Syngenta) via a pan-European, field experiment (during the 2014-2015 cropping season). The results will provide policy makers and regulators with independent, high-quality scientific evidence on the effects of neonicotinoids on honeybees and help to inform their decisions. Get access to the paper and the datasets with the links below.

Results published (June 2017)

The results were published in the journal Science on 29 June 2017.

Full paper reference: Woodcock, B A, Bullock, J M, Shore, R F, Heard, M S, Pereira, M G, Redhead, J, Ridding, L, Dean, H, Sleep, D, Henrys, P, Peyton, J, Hulmes, S, Hulmes, L, Sárospataki, M, Saure, C, Edwards M, Genersch, E, Knäbe, S & Pywell, R F. Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honeybees and wild bees, Science, VOL 356, ISSUE 6345, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1190.

Download the datasets

Presentation from Prof Richard Pywell outlining the results

Experiment overview

CEH researchers designed and oversaw the delivery of this trial, with all aspects of the project scrutinised by an independent Scientific Advisory Committee, chaired by Prof Bill Sutherland of Cambridge University. This work aligns with NERC and CEH’s scientific aim of monitoring the impacts of human actions on the environment.

CEH researchers also utilised the field trial infrastructure to assess the impacts of neonicotinoid seed treatments on wild pollinators.

Lead scientist, Professor Richard Pywell, explained more about the project in a series of video clips recorded at the beginning of the experiment:

Experiment details

What was measured

Independent science


Principal Investigator

  • Senior Principal Scientist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • Science Area Lead for Sustainable Land Management research
  • Head of a section of 32 staff plus 15 students
  • Trustee on UK National Biodiversity Network
  • Visiting Professor at Liverpool University.
  • Contributing author for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment