Health

Pesticides harm the brains of baby bees, the new investigation uncovers

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The chances of detecting the hardworking pollinators in Europe and America down by over 30% since the last century.

Pesticides, alongside climate emergencies and declining habitat, have been accused for their declining numbers. What’s more, in a new investigation published Tuesday, researchers analyzed precisely how bumblebees are influenced by pesticides by scanning bumblebee brains and testing their learning abilities.

They found that baby bees can feel the impacts of the nourishment polluted by pesticides brought back by working bees into the colony, making them more unfortunate at performing tasks later in life.

Dr. Richard Gill, a senior lecturer in the Imperial College London’s Department of Life Sciences and an author of the study, contrasted it with how a fetus may be harmed by a harmful substance in the womb.

“Bee colonies act as superorganisms, so when any toxins enter the colony, these have the potential to cause problems with the development of the baby bees within it,” he said.

“Worryingly in this case, when young bees are fed on pesticide-contaminated food, this caused parts of the brain to grow less, leading to older adult bees possessing smaller and functionally impaired brains; an effect that appeared to be permanent and irreversible.”

The loss of bumblebees can add to diminishing biodiversity and conceivably impact food supply, with the bees pollinating plants, for example, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, blueberries, and melons.

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