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New Study: Fungicides May Be Killing Bees

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Honey Bee Health page.

Bee populations are dwindling across the globe, putting one in three food crops like apples and almonds, which depend on pollination from bees, at serious risk.

In the US, beekeepers have reported annual losses of about 33 percent of their hives each year, a level of loss that the Agricultural Research Services reports could threaten the economic viability of the bee pollination industry if it continues (and some beekeepers report much higher losses than this at upwards of 70 or, in some cases, 100 percent).

Despite the growing losses, the causes of the massive bee die-offs have yet to be firmly defined, although accumulating research is pointing to a cocktail of agricultural chemicals as a likely primary culprit.

New Study: Fungicides May Be Killing Bees

Systemic neonicotinoid pesticides have been increasingly blamed for bee deaths (and were implicated in a recent mass bee die-off of 25,000 bumblebees along with millions of bee deaths in Canada), prompting the European Union (EU) to ban them for two years.

Now, it appears measures that target single classes of pesticides, though a move in the right direction, may be falling short. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers analyzed pollen from bee hives in seven major crops and found 35 different pesticides along with high fungicide loads. Each sample contained, on average, nine different pesticides and fungicides, although one contained 21 different chemicals.

Furthermore, when the pollen was fed to healthy bees, they had a significant decline in the ability to resist infection with the Nosema ceranae parasite, which has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).      


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