By Patrick Barkham

Dramatic decline in population associated with increased use of controversial neonicotinoid chemicals on farms

Neonicotinoids may be contributing towards the disappearance of butterflies from the countryside, according to the first scientific study to examine the effect of the controversial agricultural pesticides on British butterflies.

Researchers found that 15 of 17 species which commonly live on farmland – including the small tortoiseshell, small skipper and wall butterfly – show declines associated with increasing neonic use.