New research now indicates that there may be a connection between an increase in honeybee deaths and the use of insecticides, specifically the chemicals used to coat corn seeds.
The new study, titled “Assessment of the Environmental Exposure of Honeybees to Particulate Matter Containing Neonicotinoid Insecticides Coming from Corn Coated Seeds”, was published in the American Chemical Society‘s Environmental Science & Technology journal, and provides new enlightenment in to the possible causes behind colony collapse disorder.
Colony collapse disorder, or the mass die-off of bees, has had researchers puzzled up to now. Some thought that humanity’s increase in cell phone usage may have been behind the strange die-offs.
This new research may provide information that could lead to even more answers.
According to the new study, neonicotinoid insecticides “are among the most widely used in the world, popular because they kill insects by paralyzing nerves but have lower toxicity for other animals.”
Many beekeepers noted a rise in honeybee deaths right around the time of corn planting using this particular kind of insecticide.
Pneumatic drilling machines suck the seeds in and then coat them with the insecticide to create a layer before they are planted in the ground. Researchers think the mass die-offs may be caused by the particles of insecticide that are spewed into the air by the machines as the chemicals are sprayed.
The researchers tried several methods to make the drilling machines safer for honeybees, but they found in all cases that, when the neonicotinoid insecticides were used, mass die-offs occurred.
Honeybees are crucial for pollinating food crops. Scientists say the disruption of pollination could have an important effect on entire ecosystems.
In addition, as the researchers wrote in the study, “In view of the currently increasing crop production, and also of corn as a renewable energy source, the correct use of these insecticides within sustainable agriculture is a cause of concern.”
- Corn insecticide linked to great die-off of beneficial honeybees (physorg.com)
- Honey Bees Dying From Corn Insecticides (inquisitr.com)
- Honeybee Deaths Linked to Corn Insecticides (climate-connections.org)