Researchers from Curie-Skłodowska University in Poland have found that an extract from hemp may help bees to survive poisoning from pesticides.
The use of pesticides tends to malnourish and thus weaken bees, making them vulnerable to various diseases. One disease, in particular, is known as 'nosemosis'. It works by attacking the digestive system and causing weakness and muscle loss to the point that bees can no longer digest and absorb nutrients, and ultimately die.
Already, around the world, the usage of pesticides has decimated bee populations- killing half a billion bees in Brazil in 2019. Given that bees are key pollinators, bees are essential for guaranteeing food supply and the functioning of multiple ecosystems.
To address this problem, Aneta Ptaszyńska and her team decided to investigate the effects of hemp on bees exposed to pesticides, given reports that hemp extracts are able to protect human nerve cells.
For the study the researchers studied approximately 5,000 bees living in cages. Exposing the bees to pesticides, they noticed that bees exposed to the extract as well not only lived longer than those unexposed, but also went on to live just as long as those that made no contact with the pesticide.
While further research is needed to confirm their results, the researchers say that their discovery could be a major breakthrough in bee conservation. In particular, they say that the hemp extract may both save bees around the world, as well as the ecosystems they belong to.
As such, they plan to conduct further research next year on wild bees living in prairies across multiple locations. Should they continue to receive positive results, they then plan on commercializing their findings. To this end, the team has already filed a patent concerning the benefits of hemp extracts for bees.