Today, insecticides and pesticides are being used as a solution to pest and disease control measure in agriculture. Continued studies of the impact of these methods show that the impact goes well beyond the prevention of weeds or plant eating insects. There are lasting effects on both the environment and pollinators like bees. Pesticides damage the bees’ ability to survive, gather food, pollinate, and produce honey. It is a common misconception that bees are only affected by insecticides – the research clearly states otherwise. We can also suffer from pesticide effect on bees through the contamination of bee products if steps aren’t taken. Here are some of the proven effects that pesticides have on bees.
Affect the bee’s brains.
Research has shown that use of pesticides such as coumaphos and neonicotinoids has an effect to the bees’ brains. The bees become slow learners and these chemicals can make them forget some of the floral scents. Neonicotinoids are widely used in agriculture for coating of agricultural seeds and even seeds for backyard gardeners. This pesticide affects the central nervous system of the bee after it has fed on nectar and pollen that has been contaminated through the use of this seed coating method. Research has also shown that these bees produce fewer offspring and forage less due to the longer effects of pesticide poisoning.
Some of the pesticides in use today can immediately kill bees upon contact. One way to reduce this type of exposure to bees is to spray at night when the bees are home in their hives. If the bees bring this type of chemical back into the hive while foraging, it can cause death not only to the exposed bee, but also to the rest of the hive. Other pesticides spare the bees life for a moment only to go back home where they die. We encourage people to be conscious of the types of pesticides they use – there are chemicals that have proven to be slightly more bee and pollinator friendly than others.
Colony collapse has been identified as the sudden death of adult bees in a colony. Combinations of pesticides, parasites and pathogens all of which are found in the hive have been reported to cause this mysterious collapse.
These are some of the harmful effects pesticides have on bees. To protect the bees, there should be co-operation between government officials, beekeepers, applicators and the growers. Use of liquid pesticides is less harmful as compared to dust pesticides. Farmers should apply the pesticides in the evening and they should be aware of the hives locations before doing any application. These are some of the measures one can use to protect the bees