Nature & Environment
Pesticides are causing bees to shrink
By T.K. Randall
January 20, 2014 · 17 comments
World bee populations have been in decline for years. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Mark Winterbourne
Experts believe that honeybees exposed to common pesticides are becoming smaller and weaker.
Scientists have long speculated that the increase in use of pesticides in farming could be a contributing factor in colony collapse disorder, but now a team of researchers in the UK has conducted laboratory testing that appears to confirm that pesticides are having a negative effect.
The study has revealed that a common type of pesticide used on flowering plants is capable of stunting the growth of worker bees, making them smaller and less capable.
"We already know that larger bumblebees are more effective at foraging," said researcher Gemma Baron. "Our result, revealing that this pesticide causes bees to hatch out at a smaller size, is of concern as the size of workers produced in the field is likely to be a key component of colony success, with smaller bees being less efficient at collecting nectar and pollen from flowers."
The worldwide decline in bee populations has been of grave concern in recent years as bee pollination is an essential component in our own food chain. Scientists are now looking towards alternative methods of pest control in an effort to put a stop to the decline before it is too late.
Source: The Guardian
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