According to the recent landmark studies the survival of honeybees is considered to be threatened by large scale use of pesticides, mainly neonicotinoid.
The research- one that examined honeybees in Canada and the other that looked at three bee species in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary- provides the most important evidence that Neonicotinoid pesticides commonly found in agricultural areas cause serious harm to bees and hurt their ability to reproduce.
Earlier critics suggested that previous scientific studies used unrealistic quantities of pesticides in their experiments. However, the new studies say the environmental levels of neonicotinoids surrounding farms kill bees over extended periods of time.
Honeybees in the United Kingdom had difficulty surviving to begin with, but survival was lowest near crops treated with neonicotinoids the year before. Similarly, in Hungary, colony numbers fell by 24 percent by following spring. However, there was no effect in Germany. The authors suggest that the different results may be because of the different climates naturally found in the three countries.
The second new study published in journal 'Science', carried out on corn farms in Canada, also found crops were not the main source of neonicotinoids to which bees were exposed.
“This indicates that neonicotinoids, which are water soluble, spill over from fields into the surrounding environment, where they are taken up by other plants that are very attractive to bees”, said Nadia Tsvetkov at York University in Canada, who led the research.
According to a bee expert, Prof David Goulson at the University of Sussex, UK, “In the light of these new studies, continuing to claim that use of neonicotinoids in farming does not harm bees is no longer a tenable position. In my view we should also consider the bigger picture; the current model of farming based on huge monocultures treated with dozens of pesticides is causing devastating environmental harm, undermining vital ecosystem services that keep us all alive.”