Bees Face Unprecedented Pesticide Exposures

For years, honey bees are being hammered by a mysterious environmental plague that has a name -- colony collapse disorder -- but no established cause. A two-year study now provides evidence indicting one likely group of suspects: pesticides. It found “unprecedented levels” of mite-killing chemicals and crop pesticides in hives across the United States and parts of Canada.

The researchers described widespread pesticide tainting in close to 750 samples, some of the chemicals at levels that would be toxic if they occurred alone -- and most bees aren’t exposed to just a single pesticide.

Some of the pesticides that were detected in hive materials can disorient bees, which suggests many foragers that had been unwittingly carrying home such contaminants at last become too confused to find their front door.

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