Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure impairs crop pollination services provided by bumblebees

This novel research evaluated whether chronic field realistic exposure to a neonicotinoid insecticide (thiamethoxam) affected the pollination service that bumble bees provide in apple orchards. The study found that flowers pollinated by bumble bees exposed to 10 ppb of thiamethoxam produced fruit with significantly fewer seeds (36% less) than those flowers pollinated by bees unexposed to thiamethoxam. The reduced production of seeds indicates reduced pollination services which in turn impacts quality and quantity of fruit production. The researchers found no observable difference in how the individual bees behaved on flowers. However, colonies exposed to the neonicotinoid had lower visitation rates, and collected pollen less often than control colonies.

Stanley, D. A., M. P. Garratt, J. B. Wickens, V. J. Wickens, S. G. Potts, and N. E. Raine
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