Honeybees — employed to pollinate crops during the blooming season — encounter danger due to lingering and wandering pesticides, according to an analysis of the bee’s own food.
Researchers used 120 pristine honeybee colonies that were placed near 30 apple orchards around New York state. After allowing the bees to forage for several days during the apple flowering period, the scientists examined each hive’s “beebread” – the bees’ food stores made from gathered pollen – to search for traces of pesticides.
In 17 percent of colonies, the beebread revealed the presence of acutely high levels of pesticide exposure, while 73 percent were found to have chronic exposure.
The new Cornell study was published April 19 in Nature Scientific Reports.