Popular pesticides and herbicides are killing bees, study finds.
The disappearance and potential extinction of hundreds of bee species from North America has been referred to as a ‘mystery’ but now researchers think they have got to the bottom of the problem, as the worst fear has been confirmed.
Environmentalists have blamed agrochemical companies such as Monsanto as their products were suspected to be the source of the bee deaths, this has now been confirmed.
Researchers from the University of Illinois conducted studies into bee behavior and found some worrying results. Bees were found to be attracted to food containing Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup and fungicide chlorothalonil much more than they were attracted to plain sugar syrup, their original food source.
The results show that the bees tastes have changed over time and they are now attracted to food that is much worse for them, it is killing them in the long run. The researchers found that the bees were turned off by Roundup and chlorothalonil at high concentrations but were more than happy to tuck in when the food was laced slightly with it.
Lead researcher Professor May Berenbaum from the University of Illinois’ entomology dept said:
“Bees are kind of like humans in that they sometimes like things that aren’t necessarily good for them,”
“People assume that fungicides affect only fungi,” “But fungi are much more closely related to animals than they are to plants. And toxins that disrupt physiological processes in fungi can also potentially affect them in animals, including insects.”
Fungicides are particularly worrying for the bee population, these chemicals are picked up by the bees and taken back to the hive, they are found to be the most prevalent contaminant found in bee hives.
Scientists claim that this is ‘worrisome’ as they postulate the fungicides are stopping the bees from being able to metabolize other harmful chemicals in the environment, this is leading to them falling foul to illnesses that once would not have been harmful to them.
Another recent study also linked fungicides to declining bee numbers. This study found that fungicides like chlorothalonil were linked with fugal parasites that are killing off bees at an alarming rate.
Agrochemical companies have been quick to deny the link between their products and dwindling bee numbers but the evidence cannot be ignored for much longer. There has been a rise in the awareness for bee health since the numbers have fallen and there is now an annual World Bee Day on May 20.
Via Return To Now