Stress can cause bee colonies to fail
London: Extended periods of stress can cause bee colony failures, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Royal Holloway University found that when bees are exposed to low levels of neonicotinoid pesticides - which do not directly kill bees - their behaviour changes and they stop working properly for their colonies.
The results showed that exposure to pesticides at levels bees encounter in the field, has subtle impacts on individual bees, and can eventually make colonies fail.
This discovery provides an important breakthrough in identifying the reasons for the recent global decline of bees, a trend that has baffled many experts worldwide, researchers said.
"One in three mouthfuls of our food depend on bee pollination," said lead author, Dr John Bryden from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway.
"By understanding the complex way in which colonies fail and die, we`ve made a crucial step in being able to link bee declines to pesticides and other factors, such as habitat loss and disease which can all contribute to colony failure," Bryden said.
"Our research provides important insights to the biology of pollinators," said co-author Professor Vincent Jansen.
"It is intriguing that the way in which bees work together is the key to their success, but could also contribute to their decline and colony failure," Jansen said.
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