2 Studies Point to Common Pesticide as a Culprit in Declining Bee Colonies
By CARL ZIMMER
Scientists have been alarmed and puzzled by declines in bee populations in the United States and other parts of the world. They have suspected that http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/nutrition/pesticides/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier pesticides are playing a part, but to date their experiments have yielded conflicting, ambiguous results.
In Thursday’s issue of the journal Science, two teams of researchers published studies suggesting that low levels of a common pesticide can have significant effects on bee colonies. One experiment, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2012/03/28/science.1215039 conducted by French researchers, indicates that the chemicals fog http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/bees/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier honeybee brains, making it harder for them to find their way home. The other study, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2012/03/28/science.1215025 by scientists in Britain, suggests that they keep bumblebees from supplying their hives with enough food to produce new queens.
The authors of both studies contend that their results raise serious questions about the use of the pesticides, known as neonicotinoids.