Friday, 3 May 2019

Pesticide exposure causes bumblebee flight to fall short


APRIL 29, 2019
Bees exposed to a neonicotinoid pesticide fly only a third of the distance that unexposed bees are able to achieve.
Flight behaviour is crucial for determining how bees forage, so reduced flight performance from pesticide exposure could lead to colonies going hungry and pollination services being impacted.
Foraging bees are essential pollinators for the crops we eat and the wildflowers in our countryside, gardens and parks. Any factor compromising bee flight performance could therefore impact this pollination service.
A study by Imperial College London researchers, published today in the journal Ecology and Evolution, reveals how exposure to a common class of neurotoxic pesticide, a neonicotinoid, reduces individual flight endurance (distance and duration) in bumblebees.
The study shows that bees exposed to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid in doses they would encounter in fields fly significantly shorter distances and for less time than bees not exposed, which could reduce the area in which colonies can forage for food by up to 80 percent.


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