Common crop pesticides are harming the brains of bees

According to new research, exposure to popular pesticides injures bee brain physiology, is capable of devastating bee hives, and may be partly responsible for on-going Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Honey bee (Apis mellifera) collecting pollen. Photo by: Jon Sullivan.
  • A research team exposed honeybees to two different pesticides at levels encountered in the wild, and found that both pesticides directly affected the ways the bees’ brains functioned.
  • This study is the first to explain why bees exposed to these pesticides have unusual behavior, including losing their way easily and slow reactions.
  • Scientists in both the U.S. Europe have recorded the complete collapse of hives due to exposure.
  • Fortunately this research has spurred some policy movement and the European Union (EU) proposed a ban on one of the pesticides for two years.
  • Most recently, nine beekeeping and environmental groups sued the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to take action to protect bees.
  • Bees are important plant pollinators and in the U.S. alone, their pollination services are estimated to be worth $8-12 billion.
  • While bee declines have occurred in the past, researchers believe this one is much more severe.

Want to learn more? Read the full story here: Common pesticides disrupt brain functioning in bees

 

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