Bumblebees could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely-used pesticide, a study suggests. Experts fear smaller bees will be less effective at foraging for nectar and carrying out their vital task of distributing pollen.Scientists in the UK conducted laboratory tests which showed how a pyrethroid pesticide stunted the growth of worker bumblebee larvae, causing them to hatch out reduced in size. Gemma Baron, one of the researchers from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “We already know that larger bumblebees are more effective at foraging.
Over the last decade, the decline in the number of bees has become an undeniable fact. It is leading many to consider the real possibility of a global food crisis as bee colonies continue to collapse.What remains in question is exactly what is the culprit. In reality, there may be more than one reason, but an increasing number of studies are pointing to the use of pesticides as the main smoking gun.
The Independent reported:
More than 30 separate scientific studies have found a link between the neonicotinoids, which attack insects' nerve systems, and falling bee numbers.UK, Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Austria and Portugal voted against the ban. Some countries abstained, and Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, France, Cyprus, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden voted for a pesticide ban.
Meanwhile, in America, Oregon witnessed a mass bee die-off that prompted the Oregon Department of …
Dr Nigel Raine, another member of the Royal Holloway team who will be speaking at this week's national Bee Health Conference in London, said: “Our work provides a significant step forward in understanding the detrimental impact of pesticides other than neonicotinoids on wild bees. “Further studies using colonies placed in the field are essential to understand the full impacts, and conducting such studies needs to be a priority for scientists and governments.”The scientists sprayed the pesticide on the bees' pollen feed at the concentration recommended for oilseed rape. Colony growth and reproductive output were monitored for up to 14 weeks.
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