MAY 03, 2017 06:50 AM PDT

Pesticides Negatively Impact Ovary Development in Queen Bumblebees

We’ve known for a while that pesticides can have a negative impact on living bumblebees, but new research diving into how they affect unborn bumblebees and the queen of the hive appears to be just as frightening.

Queen bees are negatively impacted by pesticides, making it harder for them to produce eggs.

Image Credit: Skitterphoto/Pixabay

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reveals that the chemicals in certain pesticides cause issues for the development of the queen bee’s ovaries.

As a result, fewer eggs are being produced and fewer bumblebees are being born because of it. More strikingly, we have our very own anti-insect measures to blame for it.

The study looked at the effects of one pesticide in particular: neonicotinoid. The team looked into the effects of realistic amounts of the pesticide on 506 test subjects spanning four different bumblebee species captured near London and saw the same results in all of them across the board.

“We consistently found that neonicotinoid exposure, at levels mimicking exposure that queens could experience in agricultural landscapes, resulted in reduced ovary development in queens of all four species we tested,” explained study lead author, Dr Gemma Baron from the Royal Holloway University of London.

Importantly, the pesticides had a species-specific impact on the feeding habits of the bumblebees too:

“Impacts of neonicotinoid exposure on feeding behavior were species-specific, with two out of four species eating less artificial nectar when exposed to the pesticide. These impacts are likely to reduce the success of bumblebee queens in the spring, with knock-on effects for bee populations later in the year,” Baron continued.

Related: Can we save the bees?

While previous studies looking into the effects of pesticides on bumblebees do exist, they differ from this study because they spent more time looking at the worker class of bees rather than the queen.

Moreover, this study looked at the effects of pesticides on multiple bumblebee species, rather than one, which offers even more valuable data towards our understanding of pesticide impact on bumblebees.

Because the world is going through a somewhat alarming shortage of bumblebees right now, the use of pesticides is going through a lot of scientific examination at this point in time. With the first U.S.-based bumblebee officially joining the endangered species list, and no clear indication of things changing for the better, bumblebees just might be in some serious trouble.

Hopefully, with the backing of all this scientific evidence, governments will have what they need to better regulate pesticide use so that we can help save the bees. An even better solution would be to find a chemical that does away with the actual pests and leaves bumblebees unscathed completely.

For now, you can do nature a favor and encourage bee populations to multiply by planting more flowers, as habitat loss is another one of the leading reasons for the global decline in bumblebee populations.

Source: The Globe and Mail, Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 21, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 21, 2018
2018: An Unlucky Year for Manatees?
Concerned animal conservationists have taken the stage to warn about some somewhat unsettling news in the marine mammal world. As it would seem, there&rsqu...
AUG 27, 2018
Videos
AUG 27, 2018
Bizarre Diets of Some Animals
Some animals have bizarre diets that are not usually thought of. For example, some species of crocodiles eat a huge range of fruit, nuts, seeds and other p...
SEP 18, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 18, 2018
Study Investigates Why People Like Bees and Dislike Wasps
Bees and wasps share a lot in common; the clear majority of both sport the familiar black and yellow color scheme, retain unpleasant stingers for self-defe...
SEP 26, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 26, 2018
Climate Change Isn't the Leading Cause of Global Amphibian Decline; Humans Are
Around the globe, amphibians of all types are experiencing sharp population declines. Climate change has long been the primary rationalization for this unf...
NOV 07, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 07, 2018
Experts Thought This Octopus Was a Male, and it Just Had Thousands of Babies
Caretakers for what was initially thought to be a ‘male’ octopus named Octavian at the University of Georgia’s Marine Education Center an...
NOV 12, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2018
Newly-Discovered Tea Plant Naturally Exhibits Little or No Caffeine
Tea is perhaps one of nature’s purest flavored drinks, and it can be brewed from not much more than some hot water and lightly-processed tea plant le...
Loading Comments...