Industry News and Events

Posted:Wed, Oct 21st, 2015 3:16:25 pm

Study with N.S. connections sheds light on bee crisis

Published in the Chronicle Herald October 18, 2015

By: Frances Willick

As bee colonies die off across the northern hemisphere, scientists are scrambling to understand why.

A new study co-authored by an Acadia University professor and a Dalhousie University graduate has shed some light on the problem.

The research explored, for the first time, how queen bee health is affected by a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.

Queen bees are crucial to the health of a colony or hive, said Dave Shutler, an Acadia University biology professor who co-authored the study.

"The queen is the nub of everything. If the queens are suffering, then we really have something to worry about."

The study, published last week in the journal Scientific Reports, was co-authored by a team of researchers from Bern, Switzerland, including Dal grad Geoff Williams, now with the University of Bern.

The research showed that neonicotinoids applied in quantities that would be realistic in the field have profound effects on queens' physiology, anatomy and reproductive success.

Queens exposed to the pesticides had larger ovaries, stored fewer sperm and produced fewer eggs — and therefore new worker bees — than the control group, which was not subjected to the neonicotinoids.

Full Chronicle Herald Article [new window]