Pesticides in backyards implicated in Bee Colony die off
The controversy over possible links between massive bee die-offs and agricultural pesticides has overshadowed another threat: the use of those same pesticides in backyards and gardens.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are ubiquitous in everday consumer plant treatments, and may expose bees to far higher doses than those found on farms, where neonicotinoids used in seed coatings are already considered a major problem by many scientists.
"It's amazing how much research is out there on seed treatments, and in a way thats' distracted everyone from what may be a bigger problem," said Mace Vaughan, pollinator program director at the Xerces society, an invertebrate conservation group.
The vast majority of attention paid to neonicotinoids, the world's most popular class of pesticides, has focused on their agricultural uses and possible effects. A growing body of research suggests that, even at non-lethal doses, the pesticides can disrupt bee navigation and make them vulnerable to disease and stress.
Neonicotinoids are now a leading suspect in colony collapse disorder, a mysterious condition that’s decimating domestic and wild bee colonies across much of North America and Europe. The emergence of colony collapse disorder coincided with a dramatic increase in agricultural neonicotinoid use.
Bee hive via Shutterstock.
Article continues at Wired.