The news that the UK government has reinstated the ban on the use of neonicotinoids as a pesticide couldn’t have come at a more timely juncture, with a new study revealing yet more damaging effects of the substance on the health of the world’s bee population.
Conducted at the University of Stirling and published in the journal Scientific Reports, the study found that exposure to neonicotinoids could have debilitating effects on a bee’s ability to buzz. While that not may sound serious, the implications for its pollination abilities could be severe.
While buzzing might sound like a superficial characteristic of the bee, it has more importance than you might have suspected. The vibrations of the bee’s wings are instrumental in dislodging pollen from the anthers of a flower and onto its body.
Similarly, when the bee moves onto its next target, the wingbeats are again key in shedding the previously gathered pollen onto the new flower, thus resulting in cross-pollination.
Evidence against neonicotinoids has been mounting for some time now, though the challenges facing pesticide analysis and monitoring mean that the industry (including the vast majority of farmers) have opposed scientific studies and denounced them as inconclusive.