- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
A study says that insecticide use is at fault for the drop in the honeybee population and leads to the abandonment of previously healthy colonies.
The study was done by scientists at Harvard and they say that use of two neonicotinoids can lead to colony collapse disorder, which was resulted in many abandoned honeybee colonies starting in 2005 and 2006. The scientists looked at how colonies untreated by the insecticides remained healthy, while treated ones had about half die out.
Eighteen colonies were examined between October 2012 and April 2013. They were split evenly between three locations and at each location two were the control group and two of the other four either got treated with doses of imidacloprid or clothianidin.
"We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering 'colony collapse disorder' in honeybee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter," lead author Chensheng Lu, of Harvard School Public Health, said, according to The Guardian.
They said that half of the colonies ended up being abandoned in much the same manner that occurs from CCD, while five of the control groups survived without being introduced to the insecticide at all. The sixth control colony did die, but because of Nosema, which is a parasitic fungus. The dying bees also did not abandon their hive like those with CCD do.
According to the Science Recorder, it is believed that between 30 percent and 70 percent of honeybee colonies in the West have perished. If insecticide use is indeed the reason for the die out, then steps can be taken to help the Western honeybee population rebound.