New Studies Blame Pesticides for Bee Decline
They show 'big effects' in natural environment
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 29, 2012 3:19 PM CDT
A honeybee hovers over a flower in Chitwan National Park near Kathmandu.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Scientists have a new lead in the mystery of the disappearing bees. While pesticides had only a "trivial" effect on honeybee populations in lab experiments, a researcher says studies in natural settings have shown that the chemicals can have "big effects," reports the Guardian. Common pesticides known as neonicotinoids appear to double the number of bees that "disappear," or fail to return from foraging missions. The chemicals also cut the number of queens a nest produces by 85%.

"Under the effects we saw from the pesticides, the population size would decline disastrously, and make them even more sensitive to parasites or a lack of food," says a researcher. Neonicotinoids are used on plants' seeds, which allow them to travel through the entire plant—including the nectar and pollen consumed by bees. Producers of the pesticides in question criticize the studies' methodology, saying it misrepresents how the chemicals are used in practice. The new studies are just the latest to identify possible bee killers.

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
fancygapva
Mar 30, 2012 11:13 PM CDT
Well DUH. I tried to keep bees near cabbage fields where insecticides were used to kill cabbage moths in the 1970's. Experienced beekeepers said the insecticides would be a problem. They were. My hive never got really strong.
willingtoupe
Mar 30, 2012 5:29 AM CDT
It's the interstate highways. The 18 wheeler trucks are killing them. Bees can only fly at a certain maximum height and end up fliying into the windsheilds of trucks when trying to relocate during their migration period. On certain truck stops, mainly in California, you can see the splattered guts mixed with honey on the front end of these 18 wheelers as if were a normal situation.
Tology
Mar 30, 2012 4:32 AM CDT
Last month they thought it was a parasitic fly killing them. Face it, the scientists don't have a clue what is causing it, like cancer research scientists, they have no reason to find a cure. Unemployment awaits successful researchers.