Honey bee collapse attributed to pesticides

Scientists have found that two types of pesticides called neonicotinoids and coumaphos are interfering with the honey bee brain’s ability to learn and remember. Experiments revealed that exposure was also lowering brain activity, especially when the two pesticides were used in combination. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21958547 We found neonicotinoids cause an immediate hyper-activation – so an epileptic type activity – this was proceeded by neuronal inactivation, where the brain goes quiet and cannot communicate any more. The same effects occur when we used organophosphates.  “And if we used them together, the effect was additive, so they added to the toxicity: the effect was greater when both were present.” Other researchers there found that bees exposed to both pesticides were unable to learn and then remember floral smells associated with a sweet nectar reward – a skill that is essential for bees in search of food. “It would imply that the bees are able to forage less effectively, they are less able to find and learn and remember and then communicate to their hive mates what the good sources of pollen and nectar are.” “But because bees do these complex learning tasks, they are very social animals and they have a complex behavioural repertoire, they don’t need to be killed outright in order not to be affected.”

The European Commission recently called for a temporary moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids after a report by the European Food Safety Authority concluded that they posed a high acute risk to pollinators, but 14 out of the 27 EU nations – including the UK and Germany – opposed the ban, and the proposal has now been delayed. Government affairs manager at Bayer Crop Science Limited, which makes some of the pesticides (and also made Zyklon B), said the findings of laboratory-based studies should not be automatically extrapolated to the field.

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on misebogland and commented:
    Neonicotinoids -The development of this class of insecticides began with work in the 1980s by Shell and the 1990s by Bayer.

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