Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Scientist says pesticides get too much blame for bee colony collapse disorder

Pesticides are wrongfully getting all the blame for colony collapse disorder, University of California-Davis Extension bee expert Eric Mussen said at the annual Society and Toxicology ToxExpo in that state. Recent studies have found insecticides contribute to the disorder, leading several groups to ask the Environmental Protection Agency to ban use of some pesticides. But Mussen said several factors contribute to CCD, not just one class of insecticides, Kathy Garney of Western Farm Press reports.

Factors affecting honey bees include pathogens, parasites, pesticides and malnutrition. Mussen said scientists are investigating these factors, along with several others, to determine why bees keep dying in high numbers. "None of these factors explains why 25 percent of beekeepers continue to lose 40 to 100 percent of their colonies annually," he said, adding that bee populations in Europe continue to die after a ban of insecticides that affect the central nervous system of insects. He said tests to determine how pesticides affect bees should be longer, and called for more genetic diversity of honey bees. (Read more)

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