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Common insecticide may cause rapid death of honeybees

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/9/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Chemical may cause decline in valuable insects

According to a new study published by the "Bulletin of Insectology", the massive decrease in honeybee populations over the last six years may be due to a certain class of insecticide that has grown in popularity and use.

A new study suggests that neonicotinoids may cause an alarming drop in the population of honeybees.

A new study suggests that neonicotinoids may cause an alarming drop in the population of honeybees.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/9/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: US, technology


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Based on a 2012 study which first linked neonicotinoids with Colony Collapse Syndrome, a research team from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that the use of this chemical is "highly likely to be responsible for triggering CCD in honey bee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter."

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The study focused on 18 bee colonies in three different central Massachusetts locations, and each colony was split into three groups. One group was exposed to the neonicotinoid called imidacloprid, one with the neonicotinoid called clothianidin, and one was not exposed to serve as a control group.

These hives were monitored by the researchers from October 2012 to April of 2013, and found that at the end of the test period, half of the neonicotinoid colonies had been decimated. This same period saw only one of the control colonies destroyed, due to a common Nosema cerenae intestinal parasite.

"We found honey bee colonies in both control and neonicotinoid-treated groups progressed almost identically, and observed no acute morbidity or mortality in either group until the arrival of winter. As temperatures began to decrease in late October 2012, we observed a steady decrease of bee cluster size in both control and neonicotinoid-treated hives continue to decline," said the study.

The loss of honeybees concerns experts in the US because they pollinate roughly one-third of all crops globally, and up to 80 percent of all US crops.

Future research could help elucidate the biological mechanism that is responsible for linking sub-lethal neonicotinoid exposures to CCD," said the study's author, Chensheng Lu.

Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. They were developed in the 1980's and 1990's, in large part because of a reduced toxicity compared to other insecticides used at the time.

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