April 09, 2012

Pesticide Linked to Bee Colony Collapse

Pesticide residues are a leading cause of bee colony collapse disorder (CCD), says a report in Harvard Science.
Pinpointing the cause of the problem is crucial because bees — beyond producing honey — are prime pollinators of roughly one-third of the crop species in the United States, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and livestock feed such as alfalfa and clover. Massive loss of honeybees could result in billions of dollars in agricultural losses, experts estimate.

[Alex Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology in the Department of Environmental Health] and his co-authors hypothesized that the uptick in CCD resulted from the presence of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid introduced in the early 1990s. Bees can be exposed in two ways: through nectar from plants or through high-fructose corn syrup beekeepers use to feed their bees. (Since most U.S.-grown corn has been treated with imidacloprid, it’s also found in corn syrup.)
Now you can expect wailing about how civilization will end without the use of imidacloprid.

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