A new study by Brazilian biologists suggests that the effect of pesticides on bees could be worse than previously thought. Even when used at a level considered nonlethal, an insecticide curtailed the lives of bees by up to 50 percent. The researchers also found that a fungicide deemed safe for bees altered the behavior of workers and made them lethargic, potentially jeopardizing the survival of the entire colony.
The results of the study are published in Scientific Reports. The principal investigator was Elaine Cristina Mathias da Silva Zacarin, a professor at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) in Sorocaba, São Paulo State, Brazil. Researchers affiliated with São Paulo State University (UNESP) and the University of São Paulo’s Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP) also took part in the study. The project’s principal investigator is Osmar Malaspina, a professor at UNESP in Rio Claro campus.
Several bee species are endangered worldwide. The phenomenon has been observed since 2000 in Europe and the United States, and since at least 2005 in Brazil. In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, the loss of some 5,000 colonies, corresponding to 400 million bees, was reported between December 2018 and January 2019. MORE