How vain it is to sit down to write when you haven't stood up to live?
Educate yourself via cantstoplearning! BEEEEEEEEEEES!
(Image credit: Jack Wolf/Flickr.)
Mysteriously, populations of bumblebees and honeybees have been collapsing all over the world since the mid-2000s. In many regions, 90 to 100% of colonies have died. Many theories were put forth as to why: could it be human influence? An effect of climate change? Perhaps heavy metal poisoning?
No, it turns out. Two independent studies have just come out showing that a particular class of pesticides — neonicotinoids — ruin the ability of both honeybees and bumblebees to navigate and find their home nest, one of the most essential skills to bee colony survival.
…free-roaming honeybees were tagged with RFID chips that allowed researchers to track their movements. When dosed with a neonicotinoid, bees were more than twice as likely as non-dosed controls to die outside their hives. They seemed to get lost.
When the researchers added their results to computer simulations of honeybee dynamics, the model populations crashed.
The source of these pesticides? Bayer, who produced this chemical to be planted with corn seeds (among other plants), where it’s expressed in the pollen and nectar of the plant. Unfortunately, it’s a neurotoxin to bees, and it’s in at least 142 million acres of US crops alone.