Bees Are Getting Too Fucked Up On Pesticides To Pollinate Our Food Supply

Bees help produce more than three quarters of the food that the entire human population depends upon, from fertilizing the produce we eat to pollinating plants for the animals we consume.

But these essential links in the food chain are now said to be losing the motivation to fertilize our crops due to the harmful consequences of pesticides.

(Photograph: Lennart Tange via Flickr)

Bees are also known to get drunk on nectar, and can lose their way as a result (Photo: Lennart Tange/ Flickr)

Researchers at the University of Stirling in Scotland have found that bumblebees exposed to insecticides fail to learn how to extract pollen from plants.

In laboratory tests, bees introduced to the world's most common pesticides were seen to lose the ability to loosen pollen from crops like tomatoes and potatoes – essentially becoming too fucked up to do their jobs.

However, bees who were not exposed to the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam pesticides were able to learn how to buzz more pollen from plants and avoid the risk of intoxication.

“The implication is that bees take less pollen back to the colonies and the colonies will be less successful, meaning there may be fewer pollinators overall,” explains researcher Penelope Whitehorn.

“These chemicals do have serious implications for wild bee populations in agricultural landscapes but some, notably from the agrochemical industry, still promote their use.”

This research is consistent with earlier studies which have shown that pesticides can reduce learning and memory in bees – as well as their capacity to communicate, forage and reproduce.

It will also be crucial to the pollination services these striped critters provide for humankind.

Whitehorn will present the results to the British Ecological Society this week and the findings will then be published in a scientific journal. Find out more about the study here.

Read More -> Bees Are Endangered – And Our Entire Food Chain Could Be Doomed

Writer and photographer from South London, UK. If you want to get in touch please email me at: matthew.kirby@konbini.com