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A group of Swiss scientists discovered that the pesticide neonicotinoid has lethal effects on bees.
A study published last October in the journal Science examined almost 200 honey samples gathered from different continents, except Antarctica. Findings revealed that 75% of these samples contained levels of neonicotinoid, a chemical substance commonly used to shield crops against pests.
Most farmers use this pesticide in crops that bees fertilize. The bees, in turn, absorb the pesticide residues that build up in neonicotinoid-treated plants. Consumption of pesticides like neonicotinoids affects the bees’ nervous system and hinders their ability to collect food. This poses a threat because bees play a big role as pollinators of food crops.
As bee populations worldwide have declined in recent years, scientists have expressed their concern on the role of neonicotinoids in the regression. Although no correlation between the two has been established, scientists argue that the constant presence of these harmful pesticides in bees’ environments puts these pollinators at risk.
As a result, environmentalists are calling for a complete ban on neonicotinoids in bee-frequented crops.
At present, plans to eliminate neonicotinoids in European Union (EU) countries are already in progress. In fact, France has already approved the legislation on neonicotinoid ban, which is expected to take effect in September 2018.
Aside from neonicotinoid, the substance glyphosate has also caught the attention of environmentalists. Glyphosate is known to be the most used herbicide in the world. Some studies found that glyphosate produces negative effects on bees. However, these effects turned out to be non-lethal. Therefore, the European Chemical Agency declared that the substance is safe for public use.