Monday, 10 September 2018

'Like nicotine': Bees develop preference for pesticides, study shows



Insects’ acquired taste for pesticide-laced food is similar to nicotine addiction in smokers, say scientists
Press Association
Wed 29 Aug 2018 00.01 BST
Bumblebees acquire a taste for pesticide-laced food that can be compared to nicotine addiction in smokers, say scientists.
The more of the nicotine-like chemicals they consume, the more they appear to want, a study has shown.
The findings suggest that the risk of potentially harmful pesticide-contaminated nectar entering bee colonies is higher than was previously thought.
In a series of studies, a team of British researchers offered bumblebees a choice of two sugar solutions, one of which was laced with neonicotinoid pesticides.
They found that over time the bees increasingly preferred feeders containing the pesticide-flavoured sugar.
Dr Richard Gill, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London, said: “Given a choice, naive bees appear to avoid neonicotinoid-treated food. However, as individual bees increasingly experience the treated food they develop a preference for it.
“Interestingly, neonicotinoids target nerve receptors in insects that are similar to receptors targeted by nicotine in mammals.

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