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New pesticides are ‘killing honeybee population worldwide’

Saturday, January 22, 2011 1:38
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(Before It's News)

By David Derbyshire

Last updated at 12:20 PM on 21st January 2011

 

A new generation of pesticides could be to blame for Britain’s vanishing honeybees, a study has shown.

The chemicals, which are routinely used on farms and garden centres, attack the central systems of insects and make bee colonies more vulnerable to disease and pests, researchers say.

The claims, which appear in an unpublished study carried out at the US Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Laboratory, add to the evidence that pesticides are partly responsible for the mysterious decline of one of the world’s best loved  insects.

 
Dying? Honeybees are being wiped out by new pesticides that have left them far more vulnerable to disease, the top U.S. bee expert has warned

Dying? Honeybees are being wiped out by new pesticides that have left them far more vulnerable to disease, the top U.S. bee expert has warned

Wildlife campaigners today called for urgent research into the links between the chemicals and the collapse of bee colonies around the world.

Scientists are baffled by Britain’s disappearing honeybees. Since the 1980s numbers have fallen by half.

The new study, led by Dr Jeffrey Pettis, one of the U.S.’s top bee experts, found that exposure to a class of pesticides called neo-nicotinoids makes bees more susceptible to infection – even at doses too low to be detected in the creature’s bodies.

Neo-nicotinoids, which were introduced in the 1990s, are applied to seeds and are found in low levels throughout a growing plant – including in its pollen and nectar.

They were introduced to replace controversial organo phosphates because they appeared to be harmless to mammals and people and are used on oil seed rape, wheat, sugar bed and garden centre plants.

The U.S. research has yet to be published, but is discussed in a new documentary film The Strange Disappearance of The Bees.

 
Neo-nicotine insecticides attack the central nervous system and are absorbed by every part of plants that are treated with them. Bees and other pollinating insects can absorb them and carry them back to their hives or nests

Neo-nicotine insecticides attack the central nervous system and are absorbed by every part of plants that are treated with them. Bees and other pollinating insects can absorb them and carry them back to their hives or nests

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