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Honeybees pick up host of agricultural, urban pesticides via non-crop plants

perdyEntomologist Christian Krupke at the Purdue Bee Laboratory with pollen collected by Indiana honeybees. (Purdue Agriculture photo/Tom Campbell)

Agricultural chemicals are only part of the problem. Homeowners and urban landscapes are big contributors, even when hives are directly adjacent to crop fields.”

By Keith Robinson
Purdue University
May 31, 2016

Excerpts:

“Although crop pollen was only a minor part of what they collected, bees in our study were exposed to a far wider range of chemicals than we expected,” said Krupke. “The sheer numbers of pesticides we found in pollen samples were astonishing. Agricultural chemicals are only part of the problem. Homeowners and urban landscapes are big contributors, even when hives are directly adjacent to crop fields.”

Long, now an assistant professor of entomology at The Ohio State University, said she was also “surprised and concerned” by the diversity of pesticides found in pollen.

“If you care about bees as a homeowner, only use insecticides when you really need to because bees will come into contact with them,” she said.

The samples showed that honeybees collect the overwhelming majority of their pollen from uncultivated plants, particularly the plant family that includes clover and alfalfa.

The researchers found 29 pesticides in pollen from the meadow site, 29 pesticides in pollen from the treated cornfield and 31 pesticides in pollen from the untreated cornfield.

“These findings really illustrate how honeybees are chronically exposed to numerous pesticides throughout the season, making pesticides an important long-term stress factor for bees,” Long said.

Read the complete article here.