Bee Colony Collapse could be related to Pesticide Usage

bee - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - A new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) is suggesting the cause of the honeybee colonies dying off since 2006 is related to imidacloprid, which is an extensively used pesticide. The study will be printed in the June issue of the Bulletin of Insectology.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been a puzzle for scientists as to what is causing the decline of honeybees. Scientists estimate that between 30% and 90% of honeybee colonies have collapsed since 2006.

The authors, led by Alex Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology in the Department of Environmental Health, along with his colleagues, hypothesized that the CCD was increasing at the same time that imidacloprid was introduced in the beginning of the 1990’s.

Pesticide exposure to the bees could happen from nectar collected from the plants, or from high-fructose corn syrup that is used to feed the bees during the winter months. The reason the high-fructose corn syrup could contain imidaclorprid pesticides is the corn was treated with it when it was grown. He also said that imidacloprid is found in corn syrup.

To investigate this hypothesis, the scientist monitored four different bee yards that were exposed to varying amounts of imidacloprid, with one being a control hive. The study lasted 23-weeks. At week number 12, the bees were all still alive. However, at the end of the study the 23rd week, 15 out of 16 of the imidacloprid treated hives or 94 percent had the colonies die. The one that had the highest amount of imidacloprid had the bee colonies die first.

Lu said that the hives were empty except for some pollen, food stores, and young bees. There were a few dead bees nearby. He also explained that only small amounts of imidacloprid were needed to cause the beehive to collapse. This is an amount less than what farmers would use on their crops.

By: Julie Marcus

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