Bee pollen is full of pesticides, according to a new study. The alarming results showed how honeybees absorb the harmful pesticides from non-farm crops, and then transfer the substance to the pollen.
The study was conducted by Purdue Entomologist Christian Krupke. Back in 2012, Krupke began noticing that bees started dying at an alarming rate. To find out the cause of the sudden increase in deaths, he put beehives in three different environments. The hives were set in fields of treated corn, untreated corn, and a meadow (the most natural environment).
Researchers from Purdue University then monitored the pollen sources and pesticide levels over a period of 16 weeks. Krupke was surprised to find out that the bees had the tendency to wander off to different plants, even though the hives were set next to corn fields. In fact, crop pollen was a minor part of what the insects collected. This provided proof that bees are more exposed to chemicals than previously thought. Bee pollen is full of pesticides, scientists found. The different kinds of pesticides discovered in the pollen samples were overwhelming.
Kupke found 29 pesticides in the meadow site’s pollen, 29 pesticides in the pollen from treated corn fields. A staggering number of 31 pesticides were found in the pollen from untreated corn fields.
Some pesticides were expected. For example, neonicotinoids. These were known to cause a decline in the population of bees, as previous studies already showed. Apart from neonicotinoids, researchers found high amounts of pyrethroids as well. This is an insecticide for home use. It goes to show that agricultural chemicals are not the biggest problem. All major sources of pesticides came from communities and urban landscape. Researchers found that even if the hives are set at a safe distance from human settlements, bees will still find a way to “beat the system”.
Researchers suggest that these results are not singular. It is highly possible that they apply to anywhere crops are grown. Scientists emphasize the fact that in every single sample, they found multiple pesticides, not just one. Which is unsettling to know, given the large number of harmful chemicals found in a product that should be natural and beneficial for our health.
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