If bees visit strawberry flowers, it results in bigger fruits. Researchers have now shown that if the bees are exposed to a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoid insecticides, then the sizes of the strawberries are affected. Strawberries pollinated by bees that had ingested the pesticide clothianidin when foraging rapeseed flowers were smaller. The study was conducted in twelve outdoor cages where solitary bees could forage from rapeseed and strawberry flowers.

In six of the cages, the rapeseed flowers were treated with clothianidin, while the other six cages had untreated rapeseed flowers. The researchers weighed the strawberries and discovered that the strawberries were smaller if they were pollinated by bees that had been exposed to the rapeseed flowers treated with clothianidin. The researchers also found that the exposure to the pesticide made the bees more sluggish and that they took a longer period of time to visit the same number of rapeseed flowers.

Researcher Lina Herbertsson says, "We studied bees that ingested clothianidin, a pesticide that was previously used in rapeseed to control flea beetles. Our study indicates that the substance made the bees slower and impaired their ability to pollinate the strawberry flowers. Previous studies have shown that clothianidin affects wild bees negatively in terms of foraging speed, development, and reproduction. Our results indicate that it can also impair the bees' ability to pollinate strawberry flowers". 

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