How Bayer’s pesticides kill baby bees


This September 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

Tell Bayer: Stop Killing Our Bees

America’s bees are dying at some of the highest rates ever, struggling to survive a deluge of next-generation pesticides called “neonics” unleashed by multinational chemical giants like Monsanto, Syngenta and Bayer — the world’s largest manufacturer of these bee-killing chemicals. Why is this a problem? One out of every three bites of food we eat relies on bees for pollination. Tell Bayer‘s CEO to save our bees and stop selling highly toxic neonic pesticides in the U.S. Take action.

From Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany:

Honeybees: Pesticides disrupt nursing behavior and larval development

Unique long-term videos show the bee nursery in the hive

May 26, 2020

A newly developed video technique has allowed scientists at Goethe University Frankfurt at the Bee Research Institute of the Polytechnical Society to record the complete development of a honey bee in its hive for the first time. It also led to the discovery that certain pesticides — neonicotinoids — changed the behaviour of the nurse bees: researchers determined that they fed the larvae less often. Larval development took up to 10 hours longer. A longer development period in the hive can foster infestation by parasites such as the Varroa mite.

Honey bees have very complex breeding behaviour: a cleaning bee cleans an empty comb (brood cell) of the remains of the previous brood before the queen bee lays an egg inside it. Once the bee larva has hatched, a nurse bee feeds it for six days. Then the nurse bees caps the brood cell with wax. The larva spins a cocoon and goes through metamorphosis, changing the shape of its body and developing a head, wings and legs. Three weeks after the egg was laid, the fully-grown bee hatches from the cocoon and leaves the brood cell.

Using a new video technique, scientists at Goethe University Frankfurt have now succeeded for the first time in recording the complete development of a honey bee in a bee colony at the Bee Research Institute of the Polytechnical Society. The researchers built a beehive with a glass pane and were thus able to film a total of four bee colonies simultaneously over several weeks with a special camera set-up. They used deep red light so that the bees were not disturbed, and recorded all the movements of the bees in the brood cells.

This 26 May 2020 video says about itself:

A newly developed video technique has allowed scientists at Goethe University Frankfurt at the Bee Research Institute of the Polytechnical Society to record the complete development of a honey bee in its hive for the first time. After its hatch from the egg, the larva grows for up to six days within the cell while nursing bees continuously provide food. The cell is capped and the larva spins its cocoon prior to remaining motionless until the metamorphosis. The pupa continues to develop and the imago breaks the cell capping in order to hatch.

The article continues:

The researchers were particularly interested in the nursing behaviour of the nurse bees, to whose food (a sugar syrup) they added small amounts of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are highly effective insecticides that are frequently used in agriculture. In natural environments, neonicotinoids arrive in bee colonies through nectar and pollen collected by the bees. It is already known that these substances disturb the navigational abilities and learning behaviour of bees. In a measure criticised by the agricultural industry, the European Union has prohibited the use of some neonicotinoids in crop cultivation.

Using machine learning algorithms developed by the scientists together with colleagues at the Centre for Cognition and Computation at Goethe University, they were able to evaluate and quantify the nursing behaviour of the nurse bees semi-automatically. The result: even small doses of the neonicotinoids Thiacloprid or Clothianidin led to the nurse bees feeding the larva during the 6-day larval development less frequently, and consequently for a shorter daily period. Some of the bees nursed in this manner required up to 10 hours longer until the cell was capped with wax.

“Neonicotinoids affect the bees’ nervous systems by blocking the receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine,” explains Dr Paul Siefert, who carried out the experiments in Professor Bernd Grünewald’s workgroup at the Bee Research Institute Oberursel. Siefert: “For the first time, we were able to demonstrate that neonicotinoids also change the social behaviour of bees. This could point to the disruptions in nursing behaviour due to neonicotinoids described by other scientists.” Furthermore, parasites such as the feared Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) profit from an extended development period, since the mites lay their eggs in the brood cells shortly before they are capped: if they remain closed for a longer period, the young mites can develop and multiply without interruption.

However, according to Siefert, it still remains to be clarified whether the delay in the larval development is caused by the behavioural disturbance of the nurse bee, or whether the larvae develop more slowly because of the altered jelly. The nurse bees produce the jelly and feed it to the larvae. “From other studies in our workgroup, we know that the concentration of acetylcholine in the jelly is reduced by neonicotinoids,” says Siefert. “On the other hand, we have observed that with higher dosages, the early embryonal development in the egg is also extended — during a period in which feeding does not yet occur.” Additional studies are needed to determine which factors are working together in these instances.

In any case, the new video technique and the evaluation algorithms offer great potential for future research projects. In addition to feeding, behaviours for heating and construction were also able to be reliably identified. Siefert: “Our innovative technology makes it possible to gain fundamental scientific insights into social interactions in bee colonies, the biology of parasites, and the safety of pesticides.”

5 thoughts on “How Bayer’s pesticides kill baby bees

  1. Pingback: How #Monsanto ‘s = #Bayer ’s #pesticides kill baby #bees | Sally Ember, Ed.D.

  2. Pingback: How Bayer’s pesticides kill baby bees | huggers.ca

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