Menu
Article Ecology
Dengue-resistance Spreads in Mosquitoes
Satellites Spy on Fish Farms
Fukushima Birds Affected
Boozing for Better Health
Climate Conflict of Interest?
One Year On
Antarctic Invasion
Lions Up Close
More Maternal Effort Means More Robust Offspring
Pesticide Problems for Bees
Ants Share Pathogens for Immunity
Poisonous Shrooms Battle Cancer
Colony Collapse from Pesticides?
Insect Battles, Big and Small
Spotted: Emperor Penguins
Melting Ice Releases Ancient Microbes
Pigeon GPS Identified
Itís Raining Mice
Ocean Plastic Aid Insects
Can Fish Eco-Labeling be Trusted?
How Prawns Lure Prey
Food's Afterlife
A Greener Arctic
The Ecology of Fear
  Pesticide Problems for Bees
Two studies published online March 29 in Science hint that a specific class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, could be contributing to colony collapse disorder in bees. In one study, bumble bees exposed to a neonicotinoid produced fewer queens, while honey bees had trouble finding their way home, reported BBC News. These side effects of pesticide exposure could play a role in colony collapse disorder, the researchers say, and more thorough toxicity tests should be performed before new pesticides are approved for use.

Neonicotinoids, which began replacing more human-toxic pesticides in the 1990s, are applied to growing plants and become incorporated into pollen and nectar, where bees encounter them. A French study looked at the effect of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam on honey bee navigation. The bees were tagged with RFID chips and tracked. Those exposed to thiamethoxam returned less often and were more likely to die away from the hive, suggesting they had trouble navigating home. A computer simulation of hive dynamics showed that adding these parameters caused the populations to plummet.

"To date, the tests mostly require that the doses found in nature do not kill bees," Mickaël Henry, the first author of the study, told the BBC. "But those authorization processes ignore possible consequences for the behavior of bees, and we hope the people in charge will be more careful."

In the bumblebee study, UK scientists fed bees pollen and sugar water laced with imidacloprid, another neonicotinoid, for 2 weeks in the lab. The bee colonies were then transplanted to the field, and their weight measured after 6 weeks. The colonies exposed to imidacloprid weighed less, implying that the bees had brought less food back. Most strikingly, these colonies produced many fewer queens (2) than control colonies (14).

"I wouldn't say this proves neonicotinoids are the sole cause of the problems bees face," Dave Goulson, who led the bumble bee study, told the BBC, "but it does suggest they're likely to be one of the causes, and possibly a significant one.Ē
Microbial Awakening
Little Fish in a Big Pond
No Sex Required
Old New Species
Beetles Warm BC Forests
Coughing Seashells
Marlboro Chicks
Fighting Microbes with Microbes
Fly Guts Reveal Animal Inventory
Cities Affect Global Weather Currents
Modeling All Life?
Killer Kittens
Opinion: Paradoxical Amphibians
Oil Additive Harming Seabirds
Diversity Defeats Disease
Icy Algae in a Changing Arctic
Native Frogs Beat Invasive Toads
Bridges for UK Water Voles
Mysterious Sea Lion Stranding Continues
Can CO2 Help Grow Rainforests?
Arctic Foxes Suffer from Seafood Diet
Plants Communicate with Help of Fungi
Ladybird Bioterrorists
Arctic Bacteria Thrives at Mars Temps
Mary OíConnor: Warming Up
Bird Bullies
An Ocean of Viruses
Science on Lockdown
 
West Coast Marine Threat
The Gigapixel Camera
Mixed Report for Oiled Salt Marshes
EPA to Regulate Greenhouse Emissions
Genetic Shift in Salmon
A Scientist Emerges
Life (Re)Cycle
How Green Are Your Fish?
School Teachers Release Invasives
Zoo Virus Swap
Mothers-In-Law and Menopause
Stalking Sharks
From Plants and Fungi to Clouds
Good Vibrations
Down and Dirty
Dogs Improve Beach Sanitation
A Funding Reboot
Agriculture-Ecology Initiative Announced
Evolving Dependence
Beard Beer
Opinion: Controlling Invasion
Natural-Born Doctors
Opinion: Fishy Deaths
A Celebrated Symposium