New pesticides killing honeybees worldwide

January 21st, 2011 - 6:17 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 21 (IANS) A new generation of pesticides could explain why honeybees are vanishing worldwide.According to a study, the chemicals, which are routinely used on farms and garden centres, attack the central systems of insects and make bee colonies more vulnerable to disease and pests.

The claims in a study, carried out at the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Bee Research Lab, add to the evidence that pesticides are partly responsible for the mysterious decline of one of the world’s best loved insects, the Daily Mail reports.

The new study, led by Jeffrey Pettis, one of the top bee experts in the US, found that exposure to a class of pesticides called neo-nicotinoids makes bees more susceptible to infection - even at doses too low to be detected in the creature’s bodies, according to a USDA statement.

Neo-nicotinoids, which were introduced in the 1990s, are applied to seeds and are found in low levels throughout a growing plant - including in its pollen and nectar.

They were introduced to replace controversial organo phosphates because they appeared to be harmless to mammals and people and are used on oil seed rape, wheat, sugar bed and garden centre plants.

The US research has been discussed in a new documentary film “The Strange Disappearance of the Bees”.

Neo-nicotine insecticides attack the central nervous system and are absorbed by every part of the plants that are treated with them.

Bayer - the German chemical giant that makes many of the neo-nicotinoids used in Europe - insisted that its products did not harm bees.

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