Over the years, researchers have gathered evidence that pesticides are incredibly dangerous for bees and for their honey production. The most dangerous pesticides are neonicotinoids, which greatly perturb the activity of bees. Initially, the evidence pointed to neonicotinoids harming pollinators from Europe and North America. Now, it turns out the problem is widespread all over the world.
Neonicotinoids taint honey all over the globe
In 2012, a team of researchers decided to test honey coming from all over the world so, over the years, they collected samples from all continents except Antarctica. After three years, they gathered 198 samples, which they then tested for the presence of five widely used neonicotinoids as pesticides.
The results weren’t too friendly. From all samples, about three-quarters of them had traces of at least one of the five neonicotinoids. Around half of these honey samples had more than one pesticide trace and contained one of the most toxic and widespread neonicotinoids. Also, the levels of pesticide were over the recommended limit in 48 percent of them, so they can have serious adverse effects.
The levels of pesticides are unusually high
It’s not unusual to find traces of neonicotinoids in honey since the pesticides are mostly everywhere. However, what is worrying is the dangerous level found in so many samples, coming from all parts of the globe. These substances reach not only humans but also other bees since they feed on honey as well. Also, after a prolonged exposure to neonicotinoids, pollinators are in danger of developing resistance to them.
It is important to know that neonicotinoids are a global problem. There is some evidence showing different types of the chemicals might boost each other’s harmful effects, but more research is still necessary. Now, if farmers keep monitoring the pesticides present in their honey, this data should be collected and ordered from a geographical point of view. This way, researchers can measure the regional differences between the pesticides’ effect.
The pesticide analysis has been published in the journal Science.
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