'A commonly used class of pesticides called neonicotinoid damages the ability of honey bee pollinators to fly, a recent study revealed. Previous studies have shown that honey bee pollinators that ingested the said chemical were less likely to return to the colony, which in turn decreased the number of foragers.
As part of the new study, a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Bologna in Italy examined the effects of the neonicotinoid-based pesticide thiamethoxam on the flight ability of honey bee pollinators. The research team also built a bee flight-testing instrument called a flight mill from scratch to allow the insects to flu under a controlled and consistent setting. The study revealed that typical neonicotinoid exposure was shown to induce significant damage to the insects’ flight ability.
“Our results provide the first demonstration that field-realistic exposure to this pesticide alone, in otherwise healthy colonies, can alter the ability of bees to fly, specifically impairing flight distance, duration and velocity. Honey bee survival depends on its ability to fly, because that’s the only way they can collect food. Their flight ability is also crucial to guarantee crop and wild plant pollination,” said researcher Simone Tosi in ScienceDaily.com.
According to the research team, short-term pesticide exposure was tied to brief increases in the honey bees’ activity. The study showed that the bees foraged farther, but flew erratically. On the other hand, long-term pesticide exposure of one to two days was tied to reduced flight capacity in honey bees, researchers said.'
Read more: Popular pesticides found to damage ability of honey bee pollinators to FLY
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