Pesticide residues detected on native bee populations impacting on foraging and reproduction

The U. S. Geological Survey has released a report specifying that 122 different pesticides were detected on bees impacting on foraging and reproductions.

The pesticides include bifenthrin, atrazine and chlorpyrifos, classified as highly toxic neonicotnoids linked to a the decline of bees including a large amount of bee deaths. Seventy-two % of the bees tested positive for pesticide residues. The most common detected pesticide was the thiamethoxam, found in 46 percent of the composite bee samples.

Neonicotinoids are especially harmful to honey bees, causing on their ability to perform basic tasks necessary for survival, such as foraging and reproduction. A recent study by USGS has found that over half of urban and agricultural streams across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, are contaminated with these chemicals.

A new study published in the scientific journal Nature has confirmed yet again that insecticides have an adverse impact on wild bees. This study follows on the available research confirming that pesticides significantly harm the environment and impact on the pollination ability of bees.

“We saw a clear negative impact on growth and ability to reproduce in bumblebee colonies near treated rapeseed fields,” said Maj Rundlöf from , the coordinator and principal investigator for the field study.

The study revealed that there are fewer wilder bees present on the rapeseed fields treated with pesticides. The specific pesticide tested was clothianidin on treated rapeseed fields. It’s unclear whether the study tested for the of genetically modified rapeseed . The researchers attribute a negative impact on the colony environment in general and the pollinating behavior of wild bees was modified to avoid the fields treated with this type of pesticide.

“If we only investigate how a new pesticide affects honeybees, that is not sufficient to predict the consequences for wild bees in a real landscape,” said Maj Rundlöf. “The results show that it is inappropriate to use clothianidin on rapeseed,” said Thorsten Rahbek Pedersen, project manager at the Swedish Board of Agriculture. “We need alternative preparations and new cultivation methods if we are to continue growing spring rapeseed in Sweden.” “We are testing new methods of dealing with flea beetles,” said Riccardo Bommarco from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.


Maj Rundlöf, Georg K. S. Andersson, Riccardo Bommarco, Ingemar Fries, Veronica Hederström, Lina Herbertsson, Ove Jonsson, Björn K. Klatt, Thorsten R. Pedersen, Johanna Yourstone, Henrik G. Smith. Seed coating with a neonicotinoid negatively affects wild bees. Nature, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nature14420 decline

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