Pesticides can impair the behaviour of bumble bees and affect their ability to eat and rear their young, a new study has shown. The research, which allowed humans to take a closer look at the bee in its environment, revealed how the pesticide neonicotinoid can harm its behaviour. The findings add to a long-standing list of concerns about these critical pollinators for that pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90 per cent of the world. The study was published in Science journal and compared the behaviour of bees exposed to pesticides and bees who weren't. Researchers placed cameras inside 12 specially made boxes that contained one chamber for a nest and another chamber for foraging.
The European Union plans to ban the world's most widely used insecticides in an effort to protect bees and other valuable pollinator insects. The ban, approved by member countries Friday, targets insecticide compounds known as neonicotinoids (also called neonics for short). The ban is expected to come into force by the end of the year and will prohibit outdoor use of the chemicals (they may still be used inside greenhouses). Neonics were introduced in the late 1980s as a safer alternative to older insecticides that are more toxic. Yet a growing body of research has pointed to environmental problems with their use.
The EU's top court has backed an almost complete European ban on the use of some of the world's most widely used pesticides. These toxic chemicals, known as neonicotinoids, are responsible for plummeting numbers of bees around the world, scientists recently confirmed. Years of research has shown that under controlled conditions the chemicals are toxic to honey bees and bumblebees. They cause brain damage that can affect learning and memory and impair their ability to forage for nectar and pollen. The latest court ruling stated that the the European Commission had been right in 2013 to restrict their use in order to protect bees.
Growing evidence for global pollinator decline is causing concern for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services maintenance. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been identified or suspected as a key factor responsible for this decline. We assessed the global exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoids by analyzing 198 honey samples from across the world. We found at least one of five tested compounds (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam) in 75% of all samples, 45% of samples contained two or more of these compounds, and 10% contained four or five. Our results confirm the exposure of bees to neonicotinoids in their food throughout the world.
Three-quarters of the honey produced around the world contain pesticides that can harm bees and pose a health risk to humans, a study has shown. Scientists who tested 198 honey samples found 75 per cent were laced with at least one of the neonicotinoid chemicals - which can attack the human nervous system in high doses. Experts called the findings'alarming', 'sobering' and a'serious environmental concern' while stressing the pesticide levels generally fell well below the safe limits for human consumption. Honeybees on a freshly built comb during the harvest season. Neonicotinoids are neuro-active chemicals similar to nicotine that have proved to be highly effective at protecting crops from pests, especially aphids and root-eating grubs.