"Bees are dying from "non lethal" fungicides"

A new study tries to zero in on what's killing, shocking, perhaps soon agriculturally-crippling, numbers of bees. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this latest research on what's behind colony collapse disorder finds it's a whole hell of a lot of things: chemicals not commonly thought to be overly hurtful to bees are dangerous; chemicals are making bees more susceptible to parasites; and banning one class of pesticides is really just one part of the solution. Basically: it's all of chemically-intensive modern agriculture.



That last sentence may veer towards overstatement and oversimplification, but it's not really off the mark. The researchers from the University of Maryland and the USDA found, after collecting pollen from hives on the East Coast that had been pollinating a variety of crops and giving it to healthy bees, is that those healthy bees become less able to resist a common bee parasite that is already implicated in colony collapse disorder.

In the collected pollen, scientists detected 35 different pesticides, as well as high levels of fungicides. Conventional wisdom on fungicides has it that they are fairly safe for honey bees. However, this study finds "an increased probability of parasite infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load."

The research, conducted by US Department of Agriculture and University of Maryland scientists, was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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