Posts Tagged ‘honeybee’

Collateral Damage

Disappearing Wild Pollinators Spell Disaster

honeybee

The perilous decline of domestic honeybees due to the widespread occurrence of colony collapse disorder continues to make news, but wild bees and other insects are often overlooked, even though the are twice as effective in producing seeds and fruit on crops, according to a study of 41 crops in 600 fields worldwide by Argentina’s research network, CONICET. For the first time, scientists have a handle on the huge contribution of wild insects, showing that honeybees cannot replace the wild insects lost as their habitat is increasingly destroyed.

Study leader Lucas Garibaldi, of Argentina’s National university in Rio Negro, says that relying on honeybees is a highly risky strategy, because disease can sweep through single species and it may not adapt to environmental changes as well as wild pollinators. Also, trucking in managed honeybee hives does not replace native pollinators, which visit more plans, resulting in more effective cross-pollination; honeybees tend to carry pollen from one flower to another on the same plant.

Honeybee Hit

Scientists Nab Fungicide as Bee Killer

Colony collapse disorder, the mysterious mass die-off of honeybees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the U.S., has been well documents, with toxic insecticides identified as the primary culprits. Now, scientists at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have expanded the identification of components of the toxic brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen and decimating the bee colonies that collect it to feed their hives.

A study of eight agricultural chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by parasites found that bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected. Widely used fungicides had previously been accepted as harmless for bees because they are designed to kill fungus, not insects.

Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, states, “There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own, highlighting a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals.” Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity, but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.

Source: qz.com

Honeybee