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.
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. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. The most commonly used to control weeds and pests are Bayer and Ortho products. The findings add to a long-standing list of concerns about these critical creatures that pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90 per cent of the world.
Neonicotinoid pesticides can negatively affect bee colonies, but the behavioral mechanisms by which these compounds impair colony growth remain unclear. Here, we investigate imidacloprid's effects on bumblebee worker behavior within the nest, using an automated, robotic platform for continuous, multicolony monitoring of uniquely identified workers. We find that exposure to field-realistic levels of imidacloprid impairs nursing and alters social and spatial dynamics within nests, but that these effects vary substantially with time of day. Our results show that neonicotinoids induce widespread disruption of within-nest worker behavior that may contribute to impaired growth, highlighting the potential of automated techniques for characterizing the multifaceted, dynamic impacts of stressors on behavior in bee colonies.
Step two: Place them in the fridge to chill until they're immobilized. Step three: Remove bees and superglue a sort of tiny, simplified QR code on their backs. Researchers used to stand over colonies, laboriously tracking the behavior of individual bees. But with this system, called BEEtag, cameras can automatically monitor hundreds of bees all day and night, exposing their personalities and interactions. That is, after the bees warm up from their chilly nap.
The largest field study so far in to the group of pesticides called "neonicotinoids" has concluded that each acts differently on the brains of the bees. One of the chemicals widely considered as being the most toxic wasn't shown to affect bees at a level found in the countryside. However other "neonics" were shown to cause significant harm to bumblebees. The results of the study are published in the journal Scientific Reports. This study examined the three types banned by the EU in 2013.