Pesticide cocktails linked to bee deaths

Photo Credit: Alan Taylor Photo Credit: Alan Taylor

In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture identify a combination of insecticides and fungicides that are the probable cause of colony collapse disorder. This cocktail of pesticides contaminates the pollen that bees feed to their larvae, resulting in a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae, which has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder. Researchers found that pollen they collected was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and made bees three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. In recent years, neonicotinoid pesticides have been linked to bee deaths, but this study shows that other chemicals may have also played a part in the bee population decline we are currently experiencing.