Common crop pesticides are harming the brains of bees

by | 1st April 2013



According to new research, exposure to popular pesticides injures bee brain physiology, is capable of devastating bee hives, and may be partly responsible for on-going Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Honey bee (Apis mellifera) collecting pollen. Photo by: Jon Sullivan.

  • A research team exposed honeybees to two different pesticides at levels encountered in the wild, and found that both pesticides directly affected the ways the bees’ brains functioned.
  • This study is the first to explain why bees exposed to these pesticides have unusual behavior, including losing their way easily and slow reactions.
  • Scientists in both the U.S. Europe have recorded the complete collapse of hives due to exposure.
  • Fortunately this research has spurred some policy movement and the European Union (EU) proposed a ban on one of the pesticides for two years.
  • Most recently, nine beekeeping and environmental groups sued the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to take action to protect bees.
  • Bees are important plant pollinators and in the U.S. alone, their pollination services are estimated to be worth $8-12 billion.
  • While bee declines have occurred in the past, researchers believe this one is much more severe.

Want to learn more? Read the full story here: Common pesticides disrupt brain functioning in bees

 










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