Hey, Vapers! We know this is a strange one but we thought it was interesting and kind of amusing.
Scientists at Newcastle University and Trinity College Dublin have found a connection between bees and an attraction to nicotine-like chemicals. The study is part of the Insect Pollinators Initiative, jointly funded by the BBSRC, Defra, NERC, the Scottish Government, and the Wellcome Trust under the auspices of the Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership. The Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council, and National Science Foundation also contributed to the funding.
The findings were published in the journal Nature mid-April. What was revealed is that bees seem to favor nectars containing neonicotinoids, which resemble nicotine and are prevalent in farming environments. Where pollination is vital. (Remember Bee Movie from 2007, with its all important message about keeping the bees happy and productive?)
With billions riding annually on the little guys’ contribution to world-wide crop yield, the long term effects of insecticide exposure is disconcerting. Negative effects have been recorded with regards to colony health and the bees’ foraging habits. In short, they are being poisoned.
Also discovered was that buff-tailed bumblebees and honeybees could not taste the three most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides (which were temporarily banned from use on flowering crops in the EU in April of 2013)—and so could not consciously avoid them. Oddly enough, though, when the bees were presented a choice between a basic sugar solution and sugar solution containing neonicotinoids, they chose the doctored food. Can the bees become addicted, like humans? Are the bees getting a ‘freebie’ each time they dine on the nectar? These are just a couple of the questions to be researched further in light of this new, alarming discovery.
“Our findings imply that even if alternative food sources are provided for bees in agricultural landscapes where neonicotinoid pesticides are used, the bees may prefer to forage on the neonicotinoid-contaminated crops. Since neonicotinoids can also end up in wild plants growing adjacent to crops, they could be much more prevalent in bees’ diets than previously thought”.
~Jane Stout, Professor of Botany and Principal Investigator
School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin