Two massive scientific studies just revealed it is almost certain the most widely used chemical insecticides in the world are extremely bad for bees, ultimately killing them in some instances. The results of the studies generated renewed pressure to completely ban the chemical pesticides in Europe.
One of the neonicotinoids studies was the largest such field trial to date. The scientists monitored honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees at a total of 33 oilseed rapeseed sites in the European Union. The team of researchers were permitted to spray two banned neonicotinoid insecticides during the field trial, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.
At each trial location, the scientists used either one of the neonicotinoids or no chemical insecticide at all. The sites where the pesticides were used were chosen at random. At the end of the study, even locations where no chemicals were used noted that the presence of neonicotinoid residue was still present in bee hives and nests. Trace elements of the banned imidacloprid chemical, which was not used in the study, was discovered as well.
The scientists surmised that all three chemical insecticides remain in the environment and can be spread long after crops are sprayed. The second study revealed wild bees are subjected to even higher levels of neonicotinoid residue.
The results of the largest #bee study are in. #Neonicotinoids harm bees by killing them during winter hibernation. Make them illegal! pic.twitter.com/c1CyjtMS8s
— Daniel Schneider (@BiologistDan) June 30, 2017
Even traces of neonicotinoids caused negative effects on bee reproduction, according to the New Scientist. Queens in bumblebee hives were unable to reproduce at anticipated levels, and few egg cells were found in the nests of solitary bees.
"The findings suggest that if we're better at managing bee diseases, we may help mitigate these effects," said study author Richard Pywell, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the United Kingdom.
As Motherboard notes, bee populations have been on a drastic decline for more than a decade. The cause of colony collapse disorder (CCD) has been a hotly-debated topic by both the scientific community and biotech companies who produce GMO seeds and chemical pesticides.
The evidence for neonicotinide insecticides' harm on bees has been mixed. Two new studies add to the case against https://t.co/L1K2d1AwN1
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) June 30, 2017
Neonicotinoids (neonics) were first discovered during the 1980s. The chemicals are not only used to treat crops around the world, but they are also present in veterinarian products and at fish farms. Neonics are believed to interfere with brain signals in bees. The study maintains the behavior of honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees is drastically impacted and increased mortality has occurred, when neonicotinoids are used.
Worker bees are the foundation of a healthy and productive hive. When the worker bees become lethargic or confused after being exposed to neonics, the hive does not function properly. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, about 70 percent of the food we eat is pollinated by honeybees. If the bees die off, the human race might not be too far behind.
[Featured Image by Protasov AN/Shutterstock]