Scientists discover another cause of bee deaths  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

TreeHugger has an update on bee colony collapse disorder - Scientists discover another cause of bee deaths, and it's really bad news.

The researchers behind that study in PLOS ONE -- Jeffery S. Pettis, Elinor M. Lichtenberg, Michael Andree, Jennie Stitzinger, Robyn Rose, Dennis vanEngelsdorp -- collected pollen from hives on the east coast, including cranberry and watermelon crops, and fed it to healthy bees. Those bees had a serious decline in their ability to resist a parasite that causes Colony Collapse Disorder. The pollen they were fed had an average of nine different pesticides and fungicides, though one sample of pollen contained a deadly brew of 21 different chemicals. Further, the researchers discovered that bees that ate pollen with fungicides were three times more likely to be infected by the parasite.

The discovery means that fungicides, thought harmless to bees, is actually a significant part of Colony Collapse Disorder. And that likely means farmers need a whole new set of regulations about how to use fungicides. While neonicotinoids have been linked to mass bee deaths -- the same type of chemical at the heart of the massive bumble bee die off in Oregon -- this study opens up an entirely new finding that it is more than one group of pesticides, but a combination of many chemicals, which makes the problem far more complex.

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