Friday, March 16, 2012

Pollution from insecticides causes huge loss of bees

The pollution from insecticides (the form of pesticides used against insects) continues to grow. There have been several studies confirming the negative effect that pesticides have on honeybees and the latest one comes from the researchers at the University of Padua, Italy.

The most damaging to honey bee population are neonicotinoid insecticides, which are frequently used since 1990s to coat corn and soybean seeds before planting.

These insecticides are highly toxic to bees and have been found in almost each sample of dead and dying bees in EU and United States.

The loss of bees that pollinate plants is not only causing a major environmental but also a major economic damage. From the economic point of view, the value of honeybees to commercial agriculture is between $15 billion to $20 billion annually (The official U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate).

Bees are nature’s top pollinators, and it has been estimated that over 70 percent of the world’s food supply relies on them to grow. If the pollution from insecticides continues the decline of bees will continue and this will in the end result in even more hunger in the world.

The global agriculture is heavily reliant on the use of toxic insecticides which has lead to widespread bee deaths. The benefits of using insecticides are therefore being heavily overshadowed by this major drawback in form of dying bees.

World must do lot better to protect bees from increased insecticide pollution because bees are key to global agriculture since most fruit, nut and vegetable crop plants depend upon honeybees for pollination.

Many farmers are still not fully aware of the risks associated with using insecticides because they do not look at the big picture, especially since corn and soybean production does not require pollination from bees.

We all have to realize that the loss of bees will mean a global reduction in crop yields. The last thing we need right now is even more hunger in the world.

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