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Cornell research finds pesticides in honeybees' stored food
Researchers used 120 pristine honeybee colonies that were placed near 30 apple orchards around New York state. After allowing the bees to forage for several days during the apple flowering period, the scientists examined each hive’s “beebread” – the bees’ food stores made from gathered pollen – to search for traces of pesticides.
Honeybees create honey in their hive through the topped-out combs, and they keep beebread - their food - in the other combs. Credit: Emma Mullen
In 17 percent of colonies, the beebread revealed the presence of acutely high levels of pesticide exposure, while 73 percent were found to have chronic exposure.
“Surprisingly, there is not much known about the magnitude of risk or mechanisms of pesticide exposure when honeybees are brought in to pollinate major agricultural crops,” said lead author Scott McArt, assistant professor of entomology at Cornell. “Beekeepers are very concerned about pesticides, but there’s very little field data. We’re trying to fill that gap in knowledge, so there’s less mystery and more fact regarding this controversial topic.”
More than 60 percent of the found pesticides were attributed to orchards and surrounding farmland that were not sprayed during the apple bloom season, according to the study. McArt said that persistent insecticides aimed at other crops may be surrounding the orchards. In addition, pre-bloom sprays in orchards may accumulate in nearby flowering weeds.
“We found risk was attributed to many different types of pesticides. Neonicotinoids were not the whole story, but they were part of the story.” he said. “Because neonicotinoids are persistent in the environment and accumulate in pollen and nectar, they are of concern. But one of our major findings is that many other pesticides contribute to risk.”
The study, “High Pesticide Risk to Honeybees Despite Low Focal Crop Pollen Collection During Pollination of a Mass Blooming Crop" was published April 19 in Nature Scientific Reports.
The New York Farm Viability Institute funded this research.
Source: Cornell University
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Other news in this sector:
- 2019-09-19 "In fruit trees, plastic has much better yield return than glass or horticultural nets"
- 2019-09-18 CAN (ON): Roots of cleaner water found in greenhouse waste, says UWindsor student
- 2019-09-16 Only 20% of Almería's greenhouses use biological controls
- 2019-09-12 New EU regulations on plant health
- 2019-09-12 US$45 million to reduce synthetic chemicals in agriculture by 80%
- 2019-09-10 Differences in gene expression in whitefly across different virus infections
- 2019-09-09 US (AR): Student intern Gomez researched blackberry and Peony plant viruses as Adair Scholar
- 2019-09-06 Germany moves to ban glyphosate weed killer by 2023
- 2019-09-06 How two mild virus variants can help growers beat PepMV
- 2019-09-06 Protecting Tasmania from the Tomato Potato Psyllid
- 2019-09-06 Sudanese farmers: Basil can stand in for expensive chemical crop protection
- 2019-09-05 UK: Funding partnership to tackle top horticultural pest & diseases
- 2019-09-05 How to avoid calcium deficiency in controlled environment food crops
- 2019-09-04 Catching cucumber crop contamination with ECD determination
- 2019-09-04 Tomato cartoons to help Kiwi tomato industry
- 2019-09-04 Netherlands: €20 million for plant stress research
- 2019-09-04 UK: All systems go with the CHAP Innovation Hub for Controlled Environment Agriculture
- 2019-09-04 Mauritius inaugurates new facility to use nuclear technology to fight agricultural pests
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