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An All New, Completely Natural Pesticide that Doesn’t Kill Bees
You have surely heard all the talk about how pesticides are killing the honeybees of our nation. Well, there is finally some good news for our little honey making friends. A group of scientists in the UK have made a biopesticide that uses the venom from spiders and a plant protein that gives hope to the endangered bees of the world.
A research journal called Proceedings of the Royal Society B recently published a study that showed that the experimental biopesticide Hv1a/GNA should not cause any detrimental effects to honeybees. It’s a nontoxic pesticide that is made from a plant protein and the venom from spiders. It’s unapproved as of yet, but there are high hopes that this could be the answer to stop the die off of honeybees. Read more about companies killing the world with their pesticides.
The bees were exposed to various levels of this experimental pesticide for more than a week and appeared to be only mildly affected. There was no measureable disturbance to the bees’ calcium channels, which, as far as bees are concerned, are linked to their learning and memory. This is vital to bees as they need to remember paths to food and communicate that to the other bees in the colony. This pesticide also did not have an impact on the larvae as developing bees were clearly able to break down this substance during digestion.
The world has been experiencing a massive die off of honeybees. More than a third of the commercial beehives have been affected. This is more than a million colonies every single year. The die off of honeybees has been stated as one of the biggest threats to the worlds food supply. The cause of the death of bees has been a mystery until just recently. A certain class of pesticides, called neonicotinoids turned out to be the culprit and four studies have confirmed that this is true.
The journal Science published research that shows that neonics poison pollen and nectar that bees regularly come into contact with as they gather food. Neonics are poisonous to the nerves, this causes bees to become disoriented and unable to return to their hive with food and unable to tell other bees where to find food. Another study published in Environmental Science and Technology connected neonic dust that is distributed into the air while planting came with tragic losses to bee colonies. Etymologists at Purdue University noticed that bees at infected hives showed symptoms of drastic insecticide poisoning. These symptoms include convulsions, tremors, and uncoordinated movements. One study done at the Harvard School of Public Health re-created the collapse of a colony in several hives simply by giving them small doses of a very popular neonic called imdacloprid.
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Even though it appears that Hv1a/GNA has the potential to be a safe pesticide, colony collapse disorder is a complex problem that will take a multi-level approach to correct.
Most scientists believe that exposure to these toxic pesticides is simply one piece of the puzzle to the drastic decline of bees in recent years. Other factors are the fragmentation or destruction of bee habitats, due to the development of land, and the spread of monoculture agriculture, deprives bees of their naturally diverse supply of food. These factors have already led to the extinction of a vast number of wild bee species. GMO crops, many of which now contain poisonous insecticides within their actual genetic structure, might also be partially responsible for the weakening of bee’s immune systems and the poisoning of Mother Nature’s incredible flying pollinators.