New study pinpoints probable causes of bee deaths
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate US$30 billion worth of crops in the USA has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow, the Soil Association reports. A new study, published in the journals Plos One has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting “beemageddon” will be much more difficult than previously thought. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying, though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.
Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association, comments that the finding of scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture that a cocktail of pesticides and fungicides are contaminating the pollen that American bees collect, fits with other recently published research findings on the effects of pesticides on honeybees and other wild pollinators. The scientists found that bees with pollen contaminated with insecticides and fungicides were less able to resist infection by a parasite that has been implicated in the disastrous Colony Collapse Disorder. While recent research in Europe has focused on the impact of one class of insecticides, the neonicotinoids, the scientists found a staggering 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample of pollen, and on average pollen was contaminated with nine different insecticides and fungicides, he continues.
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