A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Pesticides harming bee populations, researchers suggest – Telegraph

In News, Nonsense on March 30, 2012 at 07:14

Planting the right kind of flowers in gardens may help to halt the decline of British bees, according to scientists.

Pesticides harming bee populations, researchers suggest – Telegraph.

A pair of studies relating to honey and bumble bees found that pesticides which affect the insects’ nervous system could be in danger of wiping out entire colonies.

Although strict limits prevent farmers from using insecticides strong enough to kill bees, the research raises fears that the chemicals could be indirectly putting them at risk by modifying their behaviour.

The chemicals, which influence the central nervous system of insects, pose a threat to bees because they spread to the nectar and pollen of flowering crops like sunflowers and oilseed rape.

The Stirling study revealed that after exposure to imidacloprid, a type of neonicotinoid, bumble bee colonies – comprising bees, wax, honey, grubs and pollen – grew eight to 12 per cent smaller than control colonies, suggesting they were bringing in less food.

They also produced far fewer queens, which are needed to establish new colonies after the winter, researchers said.

The second study, by experts from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research found that honey bees exposed to a similar pesticide called thiamethoxam were two to three times more likely to die while away from their hives.


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