Are Honeybees Losing Their Way?
A combo of pesticides takes a toll on their memory and communication skills.
by Christy Ulrich
A single honeybee visits hundreds, sometimes thousands, of flowers a day in search of nectar and pollen. Then it must find its way back to the hive, navigating distances up to five mil (eight km), and perform a “waggle dance” to tell the other bees where the flowers are.
A new study shows that long-term exposure to a combination of certain pesticides might impair the bee’s ability to carry out its pollen mission.
“Any impairment in their ability to do this could have a strong effect on their survival,” said Geraldine Wright, a neuroscientist at Newcastle University in England and co-author of a new study posted online Feb. 7, 2013, in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Wright’s study adds to the growing body of research that shows that the honeybee’s ability to thrive is being threatened. Scientists are still researching how pesticides may be contributing to colony collapse disorder (CCD), a rapid die-off seen in millions of honeybees throughout the world since 2006.
“Pesticides are very likely to be involved in CCD and also in the loss of other types of pollinators,” Wright said…
(read more: National Geo) (photo: John Kimbler, Myshot)