Image of honeybee By Fir0002 (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph found that the use of certain pesticides impacts wildflower pollination by bees. According to a quote by study author Nigel Raine, published in CBCNews, the use of neonicotinoid-type pesticides “modify the way in which information flows through the nervous system.”
The research team found that bees gather pollen more frequently, but less efficiently, when exposed to the pesticide compared to bees that have not been exposed to neonicotinoids, such as thiamethoxam. Moreover, pesticide-exposure altered the types of flowers the bees visited.
The findings of this study may have major implications as bees are important pollinators for crops as well as the maintenance of ecosystems. Thus, one would hope, the findings may inform the use of pesticides to avoid negatively impacting the behavior of bees.
Stanley DA, Raine NE. Chronic exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide alters the interactions between bumblebees and wild plants. Functional Ecology. 2016. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12644