The world of honey is full of health hazards and risks.But a new study has found that some products contain no more than one of the two banned ingredients in honey.It is the first time there has been a scientific review to confirm that any particular product is safe.Dr Michael Cramer from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, who led the study, said the results were encouraging."It ...
A new study shows that honey bees that depend on the natural environment for food cannot survive in polluted lakes, and they are disappearing from the landscape.
The findings, published Tuesday in the journal PLOS One, raise questions about whether the massive, industrial-scale use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the Midwest has poisoned the environment for years, leaving it barren of bees that can pollinate the crops that feed people.
The researchers say they have found that beekeepers in several Wisconsin counties have seen a sharp decline in their colonies in the past few years, which suggests a decline in the ability of the bees to defend themselves.
They found that some colonies were so stressed that bees had difficulty getting along with one another.
“It appears that the beekeepers have been losing colonies and therefore not providing adequate protection,” study co-author Richard T. Haggerty, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a statement.
“We believe that there are important ecological and economic consequences to this and have identified a number of ways to reduce or eliminate the impacts of this on our landscape.”
Haggerty and his colleagues found that in a number, most of which were on farmland near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, the decline in bee colonies coincided with the decline of other pollinators.
They also found that the decline coincided with changes in the amount of neonics being used, which is a chemical that is used to control pests.
“These are not isolated instances, these are not rare, and this is happening on a massive scale,” Haggerity said.
“These are happening all over the country.”HIGGITTY said the study raises questions about what it means to be “in control” of the environment when pesticides are being sprayed into our landscapes.
“I think it’s a really important question to ask about the sustainability of pollinators,” HIGGITY said.
The study also found some colonies had declined from about 10 million bees in the 1970s to fewer than 5 million in 2012.
In the same period, neonic-treated crops grown on the landscape have multiplied, increasing their value.
“This suggests that we’re losing bees that we can use as food and as a source of food for people,” Haggity said, noting that farmers need bees to pollinate crops, including corn, soybeans and sugar beets.
“The fact that we are seeing these declines in these particular areas, it’s hard to say what the underlying causes are,” he said.
Scientists said it’s not yet clear why neonic use is declining in areas like Wisconsin, but they said there are several factors that could be contributing.
One of them is the widespread use of pesticides, such as imidacloprid and clothianidin.
“In the Midwest, there’s a lot of the neonic seed that comes from neonic crops, and people are planting them and using them,” Hargity said in an interview with NPR.
“That also contributes to the decline.”
Hargity and his co-authors said it would be helpful for the federal government to set limits on how much neonic chemicals are sprayed on crops and to look at ways to improve the efficiency of the process to keep pollinators from being killed.