Study delivers fresh bee population warnings over pesticide use

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

Study delivers fresh bee population warnings over pesticide use

Related tags: Beekeeping

Pesticides used on crops and in orchards directly harm wild bees, while fungicides labelled as ‘safe for bees’ may also indirectly threaten native pollinators, say researchers.

The research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B​, investigated the health of wild bees and honey bees in 19 orchards over a two year period – finding that the negative effect of pesticides on wild bees lessens in proportion to the amount of natural areas near orchards.

"Because production of our most nutritious foods, including many fruits, vegetables and even oils, rely on animal pollination, there is an intimate tie between pollinator and human well-being,"​ said Mia Park, an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota and the paper's first author.

Indeed, it is estimated that 35% of global food production benefits from insect pollinators – with farmers mostly relying on European honeybees, whose populations have been in decline for decades due to colony collapse disorder.

"With honeybee numbers in decline, relying on wild pollinators and encouraging the services they provide seem very important,"​ added Park – who added that the fresh study suggests there is a negative response on the whole bee community to increasing pesticide use.

Related topics: Science

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