‘WHY HONEYBEES ARE FEWER’

Posted by Adaora Anozie

On March 24, 2016

With the constant disappearance of honeybees, researchers in Europe found one of the reasons for the disappearances during an examination of dead honeybees in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

According to the researchers, the dead honeybees had 57 different pesticides. For the researchers, ‘the new method for detecting a whole range of pesticides in bees could help unravel the mystery behind the widespread decline of honeybees in recent years, and help develop an approach to saving them.’ The disappearing of honeybees is referred to a Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

“Bee health is a matter of public concern — bees are considered critically important for the environment and agriculture by pollinating more than 80% of crops and wild plants in Europe,” Tomasz Kiljanek, lead author of the study noted.

Kiljanek and the team used a method called QuEChERS, which is currently used to detect pesticides in food. With this analysis, they could test poisoned bees for 200 different pesticides simultaneously, as well as several additional compounds created when the pesticides are broken down. About 98% of the pesticides they tested for are approved for use in the European Union.

The team used the method to investigate more than 70 honeybee poisoning incidents. Their findings revealed 57 different pesticides present in the bees — it’s a toxic puzzle they hope their new method will help solve.

“This is just the beginning of our research on the impact of pesticides on honeybee health,” Kiljanek said.

“Honeybee poisoning incidents are the tip of the iceberg. Even at very low levels, pesticides can weaken bees’ defense systems, allowing parasites or viruses to kill the colony. Our results will help expand our knowledge about the influence of pesticides on honeybee health, and will provide important information for other researchers to better assess the risk connected with the mix of current used pesticides.”