Addictive Nicotine-Like Insecticides Are Killing Honeybees
Neonicotinoids are toxic insecticides that are chemically similar to nicotine. They attack the nervous system of insects resulting in paralysis and death. Seeds are treated with these systemic insecticides and become part of the plant matrix. Therefore, any part of the treated plants are extremely toxic to insects even in very small amounts.
Unfortunately, these poisonous insecticides do not only target destructive insects. Honeybees are suffering due to these nicotine mimicking substances that are supposed to bring higher yield to commercial produce while destroying insect pests. Honeybees become addicted to the neonicotinoid nectar and actually prefer it to non-treated plants. However, research has shown that these highly addictive neurotoxins interfere with the bees ability to navigate and communicate. Also, these toxins stop the queen bees ability to reproduce.
Many food crops totally depend on honeybees for pollination. For Instance, almonds rely exclusively on honeybees to produce nuts each year. Bees are responsible for pollinating 90% of the world’s crops. Also, 1 in 12 jobs depend on agriculture. Without bees, we would be limited to just 3 crops-corn wheat and rice. Our diversified diets will drastically change without our friend the honeybee.
Help our bee friends… buy organic whenever possible and never use insecticides as they are loaded with dangerous toxins that harm bees, people and wildlife.
A new study provides the first evidence of a link between neonicotinoid pesticides and escalating honeybee colony losses on a landscape level.
The study found the increased use of a pesticide, which is linked to causing serious harm in bees worldwide, as a seed treatment on oilseed rape in England and Wales over an 11 year period correlated with higher bee mortality during that time.
The research, published in Nature scientific reports on Thursday, combined large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with data on honeybee loses between 2000 and 2010.
Comparing the pesticide usage data with honeybee colony losses, scientists led by Giles Budge at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) in York – a former government agency that was outsourced to the private sector earlier this year – and US entomology professor Keith Delaplane at the University of Georgia, found a link between imidacloprid usage and honeybee colony losses. Losses varied between regions and low spring temperatures were also linked to higher bee losses in Wales.
The honeybee is the most important commercial pollinator, globally responsible for pollinating at least 90% of commercial crops. They are the most frequent flower visitor to oilseed rape. The report’s authors said: “As long as acute toxins remain the basis of agricultural pest control practices, society will be forced to weigh the benefits of pesticides against their collateral damage. Nowhere is this tension more evident than in the system with the world’s most widely used insecticide, the world’s most widely used managed pollinator and Europe’s most widely grown mass flowering crop.”
The authors call for more large-scale field-based research to determine the impacts on pollinators of the use of a newer generation of neonicotinoids.
Read the full story at the guardian.com