Bees Addicted to Nectar With Harmful Pesticides, Study Finds

By Kamal Nayan - 27 Apr '15 09:37AM

Bees have been increasingly getting addicted to neonicotinoids pesticides, used for seed dressing of rapeseed, according to a new study.

The study conducted by researchers from Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University stated that the pesticides could affect the wild bees, interfering with their growth and reproduction.

 "The fact that bees show a preference for food containing neonicotinoids is concerning as it suggests that like nicotine, neonicotinoids may act like a drug to make foods containing these substances more rewarding," said lead author of the study, Geraldine Wright, from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University.

Researchers noted that the bees are unable to taste the pesticides, and therefore are oblivious of their presence. However, the addictive properties of the neonicotinoid, causes the bees to get hooked to the substance.

"If foraging favor to collect nectar consisting of neonicotinoids, this can have a knock-on unfavorable influence on whole colonies as well as on bee population," added Wright.

 "Our findings imply that even if alternative food sources are provided for bees in agricultural landscapes where neonicotinoid pesticides are used, the bees may prefer to forage on the neonicotinoid-contaminated crops. Since neonicotinoids can also end up in wild plants growing adjacent to crops, they could be much more prevalent in bees' diets than previously thought," said Jane Stout, Professor of Botany and Principal Investigator in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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