Harvard Study Linking Bee Colony Collapse Disorder to Neonicotinoid Pesticides

In this article of the Bulletin of Insectology, Chensheng Lu, Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology at Harvard, describes a study he conducted testing the effect of neonicotinoid pesticides on bee colonies.

In the study, they compared bee colonies which were given exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides to bee colonies which were not exposed. The study started in July and after a winter, the colonies treated with neonicotinoid pesticides had significant colony collapse disorder, while the non-treated colonies did not.

Upon close examination of colonies in early April 2013, we found that the majority of bees in all neonicotinoid-treated colonies, regardless of whether they survived or not, had abandoned their hives during the course of winter. However, we observed a complete opposite phenomenon in the control colonies in which instead of abandonment, hives were repopulated quickly with new emerging bees.

Neonicotinoids are banned in Europe. Hopefully, with more studies like this, showing the dangers of these pesticides, they will be banner in the US as well.

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