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Bees may now be addicted to pesticides


Posted on Monday, 27 April, 2015 | Comment icon 15 comments

Pesticides pose a significant risk to bees and other pollinators. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Mark Winterbourne
Rather than avoiding harmful pesticides on plants, bees might actually be deliberately targeting them.
For many years now bees have been in steady decline across both Europe and North America, a crisis that if left unchecked could eventually lead to food shortages because the bees play such an important role in pollinating food crops.

Intensive research in to the phenomenon has revealed that this decline is likely to be the result of multiple factors including pesticides, disease and habitat loss. Several pesticides have already been banned in the EU in an effort to curb the problem.

Now however researchers at Newcastle University have made a new discovery that could help to shed more light on the reasons why pesticides are proving so deadly to bee populations.

What they found was that bees actually get a "buzz" out of the chemicals contained within certain pesticides and go out of their way to seek out plants that have been sprayed with them.

Neonicotinoids are particularly bad for this as they contain nicotine-like chemicals.

"We now have evidence that bees prefer to eat pesticide-contaminated food," said Prof Geraldine Wright. "Neonicotinoids target the same mechanisms in the bee brain that are affected by nicotine in the human brain."

"As soon as it gets into their blood they're getting a little buzz, as it were, and they're responding to that... We don't have any evidence that it's addictive, but it could be."

Source: BBC News | Comments (15)

Tags: Bees, Collapse

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Sundew on 27 April, 2015, 15:01
We have the huge bumble bees that bore their way into the wood on our porch. I love them. Most people ask me why i don't kill them, as they duck, dodge and spring their way into my home to get away. But if you don't bother them they won't bother you. Besides the occasional buzzing past your head of course... Wood boring bees, I have them too. Having sawn through a pressure treated 4x4 and seeing the damage they do, I would not recommend letting them gnaw their way through your home. A tennis racket works wonders, and no pesticide needed.
Comment icon #7 Posted by She-ra on 27 April, 2015, 15:38
We have the huge bumble bees that bore their way into the wood on our porch. I love them. Most people ask me why i don't kill them, as they duck, dodge and spring their way into my home to get away. But if you don't bother them they won't bother you. Besides the occasional buzzing past your head of course... Yep I have them too. They are huge! We just fill in the holes they make and try to get them to go somewhere else. My dogs go nuts and try to chase them. It's rather comical over here at times I like to keep them somewhat close though so they can pollinate my plants and veggies and all that
Comment icon #8 Posted by TripGun on 27 April, 2015, 16:33
Wood boring bees, I have them too. Having sawn through a pressure treated 4x4 and seeing the damage they do, I would not recommend letting them gnaw their way through your home. A tennis racket works wonders, and no pesticide needed. I know excactly what your talking about. I have an old racquetball racket on my porch, it's the perfect anti-insect weapon.
Comment icon #9 Posted by ancient astronaut on 27 April, 2015, 17:36
Rehab for bees.
Comment icon #10 Posted by bubblykiss on 27 April, 2015, 17:49
Rehab for bees. I have just the person to fix these bees addiction problem, Excel Excel codename Excel.
Comment icon #11 Posted by johnny blue eyes on 27 April, 2015, 18:58
This song just about says it all. https://m.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fthisgreatexplosivetrash%2Fwheres-all-the-bees%3Futm_source%3Dsoundcloud%26utm_campaign%3Dshare%26utm_medium%3Dfacebook&h=-AQHdG_fO&enc=AZODhq5agH4tLZc5dXwaSCJdWUNk1TCpbKGODRmO2O4FBGwibQkv2956TA39HxuPPRyH8wsc0eXYxRS7Rw-emGbO&s=1
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sundew on 27 April, 2015, 20:18
I know excactly what your talking about. I have an old racquetball racket on my porch, it's the perfect anti-insect weapon. Yep when people ask me if I like B-ball, we may not be talking about the same sport!
Comment icon #13 Posted by DieChecker on 27 April, 2015, 20:26
Maybe scientists can develop a tiny little Patch that they poor bugs can use to help get over their addiction. Getting those pin tip sized patches onto each bee is the beekeepers issue.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Silver Surfer on 28 April, 2015, 4:31
Its happening! The green brain will soon be here to take over! ALL GLORY TO THE GREEN BRAIN!
Comment icon #15 Posted by BeastieRunner on 28 April, 2015, 16:16
This is fairly depressing. Humanity's defining characteristic is getting other species hooked on drugs that will kill you.


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