Home Crop Monitoring Pesticides may cause bumble bees to lose their buzz, study finds

Pesticides may cause bumble bees to lose their buzz, study finds


The analysis, carried out by a staff within the College of Pure Sciences, discovered that field-realistic doses of a neonicotinoid pesticide impacts the behaviour of bees in the end interfering with the kind of vibrations they produce whereas gathering pollen.

Dr Penelope Whitehorn, the College of Stirling Analysis Fellow who led the analysis, mentioned: “Our result is the first to demonstrate quantitative changes in the type of buzzes produced by bees exposed to field-realistic levels of neonicotinoid.

“We also show that buzz pollinating bees exposed to the pesticide also collect fewer pollen grains.”

Dr Whitehorn, working with Affiliate Professor Mario Vallejo-Marin, checked out a fancy sort of pollination, referred to as buzz pollination, through which bees use vibrations to take away pollen from flowers. They studied captive colonies of bumblebees visiting buzz-pollinated flowers, monitoring their behaviour and gathering bee buzzes utilizing microphones.

The scientists then analysed the acoustic sign produced throughout buzz pollination to detect adjustments in buzzing behaviour via time. They discovered that power publicity to the pesticide, at comparable ranges to these present in agricultural fields, interfered with the vibrations of the bees as they collected pollen which, in flip, lowered the quantity of pollen collected.

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Dr Whitehorn defined: “We found that control bees, who were not exposed to the pesticide, improved their pollen collection as they gained experience, which we interpreted as an ability to learn to buzz pollinate better.

“However, bees that came into contact with pesticide did not collect more pollen as they gained more experience, and by the end of the experiment collected between 47% and 56% less pollen compared to the control bees.”

Dr Vallejo-Marin mentioned: “Our findings have implications for the effects of pesticides on bee populations as well as the pollination services they provide. They also suggest that pesticide exposure may impair bees’ ability to perform complex behaviours, such as buzz pollination.

“The next step in this research would be to establish the mechanism by which the pesticide is affecting the bees. We think that pesticides may be affecting the memory and cognitive ability of bumblebees, which may be very important when conducting complex behaviours.”

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