Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines, experts say

Date:
September 20, 2012
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
The impact of crop pesticides on honeybee colonies is unlikely to cause colony collapse, according to a new article. More research is now needed to predict the impact of widely-used agricultural insecticides, called neonicotinoids, on honeybee populations. Scientists have pointed out flaws in previous research that predicted that neonicotinoids could cause honeybee colony collapse. Neonicotinoids are among the most widely-used agricultural insecticides and honeybees ingest residues of the pesticides as they gather nectar and pollen from treated plants.

The impact of crop pesticides on honeybee colonies is unlikely to cause colony collapse, a new study shows.
Credit: © Daniel Prudek / Fotolia

The impact of crop pesticides on honeybee colonies is unlikely to cause colony collapse, according to a paper in the journal Science September 20, 2012. More research is now needed to predict the impact of widely-used agricultural insecticides, called neonicotinoids, on honeybee populations.

Related Articles


UK scientists from the University of Exeter and Food and Environment Agency highlight flaws in previous research (published in Science, April 2012) that predicted that neonicotinoids could cause honeybee colony collapse. Neonicotinoids are among the most widely-used agricultural insecticides and honeybees ingest residues of the pesticides as they gather nectar and pollen from treated plants.

The previous research has been cited by scientists, environmentalists and policy-makers as evidence of the future impact of these pesticides on honeybees. It is likely that the research was instrumental in the French government's recent decision to ban the use of thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid that is the active ingredient of Cruiser OSR, a pesticide produced by the Swiss company Syngenta.

However, the new paper argues that the calculations made in the research were flawed because they failed to reflect the rate at which honeybee colonies recover from losing individuals.

The previous research, led by French scientist Mikaël Henry, showed that the death rate of bees increased when they drank nectar laced with a neonicotinoid pesticide, thiamethoxam. It calculated that this would cause their colony to collapse. The research published September 20 explains how the calculation may have used an inappropriately low birth rate.

Lead author Dr James Cresswell of the University of Exeter said: "We know that neonicotinoids affect honeybees, but there is no evidence that they could cause colony collapse. When we repeated the previous calculation with a realistic birth rate, the risk of colony collapse under pesticide exposure disappeared.

"I am definitely not saying that pesticides are harmless to honeybees, but I think everyone wants to make decisions based on sound evidence -- and our research shows that the effects of thiamethoxam are not as severe as first thought.

"We do not yet have definitive evidence of the impact of these insecticides on honeybees and we should not be making any decisions on changes to policy on their use. It is vital that more research is conducted so that we can understand the real impact of neonicotinoids on honeybees, so governments can put together a proper plan to protect them from any dangers that the chemicals pose."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Henry, M. Beguin, F. Requier, O. Rollin, J.-F. Odoux, P. Aupinel, J. Aptel, S. Tchamitchian, A. Decourtye. Response to Comment on "A Common Pesticide Decreases Foraging Success and Survival in Honey Bees". Science, 2012; 337 (6101): 1453 DOI: 10.1126/science.1224930

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920141143.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2012, September 20). Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920141143.htm
University of Exeter. "Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines, experts say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920141143.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) — Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins