'Traces Of Pesticides' Found In Study Of World Honey Supplies
'Traces Of Pesticides' Found In Study Of World Honey Supplies
Pesticides harmful to bees which are present in 75% of the honey world
08 October, 2017, 01:14
The bees are contaminated when they feed in fields treated with neonicotinoids. However, despite research efforts to understand the patterns of neonicotinoid uses and their effects on living organisms, worldwide distribution of neonicotinoid contamination in the environment is not well known.
Neonicotinoids are considered to be the world's most widely used class of insecticides.
Aebi said, "The curator of the collection ... asked us what we should do with such a collection".
In total, the researchers analyzed 198 honey samples for five commonly used neonicotinoids: acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam.
The samples were taken from all continents except Antarctica, along with several isolated islands.
After collecting honey from all around the world, researchers from University of Neuchatel discovered that 75 percent of samples were contaminated with traces of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides - even from areas of the world with bans on the pesticide.
Overall, 75 percent of the samples had at least one neonic, 45 percent had two or more and 10 percent had four or more.
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"[The] average concentration [found in the honey] lies within the bioactive range, causing deficits in learning, behaviour, and colony performance".
Concentrations of pesticides were highest in European, North American and Asian samples.
"Despite the fact that the majority of our samples were contaminated, as a beekeeper I was stunned by the cocktails [of neonicotinoids] at which honeybees are exposed, especially since cocktail effects are now not tested on non-target organisms", said Aebi. An updated assessment that is slated to appear in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research found even stronger evidence that the insecticides are harmful, and reportedly concludes: "The consequences are far reaching and can not be ignored any longer". Although the concentrations were below the levels allowed by the European Union for human food and animal feed, the pesticides can still pose a health risk, according to the study.
The impact on bees of continuing to use these pesticides is expected to have widespread consequences.
As part of a citizen science project, the Swiss researchers asked other experts, friends and relatives to ship them honey samples.
"It is definitely scary for honeybees and other bees and useful insects".
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