Insecticides found in honey show major global threat to bees

Research looking at honey samples from around the global has highlighted the dangers a certain variety of insecticides pose for bee populations. Researchers found that out of nearly 200 honey samples, 75-percent of them tested positive for neonicotinoid insecticides. The study highlights the worldwide threat such pesticides pose for bee populations, which have been on the decline for years.

Bees are crucial for the world's food crops, but a combination of wild habitat loss and extensive use of pesticides have posed a huge threat for bee populations. Efforts to reverse this loss-of-bees trend has spurred research efforts around the globe, this latest one being among them. The study found that samples from North America had the highest rate of insecticide contamination at 86-percent.

The second highest contamination rates were found throughout Asia at 80-percent, followed by Europe at 79-percent. The samples with the lowest contamination rates came from South America with its 57-percent rate. The positive honey samples contained one or more varieties of insecticides that can harm bees.

Neonicotinoids are described as extremely toxic to bees; 48-percent of the sampled honey had concentrations of these insecticides that were great enough to cause 'significant' problems for bees. The results are especially concerning because some of the positive samples came from oceanic islands and rural regions, demonstrating how far these dangerous chemicals have spread.

Regulations for such insecticides are vital to deal with the growing problem, otherwise the world faces severe issues with crops that could threaten food supplies. Greatly restricting the use of these particular chemicals is viewed as a necessary step for protecting the environment and the bees that are vital for crops.

SOURCE: The Guardian