'Exposure to a cocktail of agrochemicals significantly increases bee mortality,
according to research Wednesday that said regulators may be underestimating the
dangers of pesticides in combination.
Bees and other pollinators are crucial for crops and wild habitats and evidence
of steep drops in insect populations worldwide has prompted fears of dire
consequences for food security and natural ecosystems.
A new meta-analysis of dozens of published studies over the last 20 years
looked at the interaction between agrochemicals, parasites and malnutrition on
bee behaviors - such as foraging, memory, colony reproduction - and health.
Researchers found that when these different stressors interacted they had a
negative effect on bees, greatly increasing the likelihood of death.
The study published in Nature also found that pesticide interaction was likely
to be "synergistic", meaning that their combined impact was greater than the
sum of their individual effects.
These "interactions between multiple agrochemicals significantly increase bee
mortality," said co-author Harry Siviter, of the University of Texas at Austin.
The study concluded that risk assessments that fail to allow for this outcome
"may underestimate the interactive effect of anthropogenic stressors on bee
Researchers said their results "demonstrate that the regulatory process in its
current form does not protect bees from the unwanted consequences of complex
"A failure to address this and to continue to expose bees to multiple
anthropogenic stressors within agriculture will result in the continued decline
in bees and their pollination services, to the detriment of human and ecosystem
health," the study concluded.'
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics