Navigation Links
Pesticide combination affects bees' ability to learn
Date:3/28/2013

Two new studies have highlighted a negative impact on bees' ability to learn following exposure to a combination of pesticides commonly used in agriculture. The researchers found that the pesticides, used in the research at levels shown to occur in the wild, could interfere with the learning circuits in the bee's brain. They also found that bees exposed to combined pesticides were slower to learn or completely forgot important associations between floral scent and food rewards.

In the study published today (27th March 2013) in Nature Communications, the University of Dundee's Dr Christopher Connolly and his team investigated the impact on bees' brains of two common pesticides: pesticides used on crops called neonicotinoid pesticides, and another type of pesticide, coumaphos, that is used in honeybee hives to kill the Varroa mite, a parasitic mite that attacks the honey bee.

The intact bees' brains were exposed to pesticides in the lab at levels predicted to occur following exposure in the wild and brain activity was recorded. They found that both types of pesticide target the same area of the bee brain involved in learning, causing a loss of function. If both pesticides were used in combination, the effect was greater.

The study is the first to show that these pesticides have a direct impact on pollinator brain physiology. It was prompted by the work of collaborators Dr Geraldine Wright and Dr Sally Williamson at Newcastle University who found that combinations of these same pesticides affected learning and memory in bees. Their studies established that when bees had been exposed to combinations of these pesticides for 4 days, as many as 30% of honeybees failed to learn or performed poorly in memory tests. Again, the experiments mimicked levels that could be seen in the wild, this time by feeding a sugar solution mixed with appropriate levels of pesticides.

Dr Geraldine Wright said: "Pollinators perform sophisticated behaviours while foraging that require them to learn and remember floral traits associated with food. Disruption in this important function has profound implications for honeybee colony survival, because bees that cannot learn will not be able to find food."

Together the researchers expressed concerns about the use of pesticides that target the same area of the brain of insects and the potential risk of toxicity to non-target insects. Moreover, they said that exposure to different combinations of pesticides that act at this site may increase this risk.

Dr Christopher Connolly said: "Much discussion of the risks posed by the neonicotinoid insecticides has raised important questions of their suitability for use in our environment. However, little consideration has been given to the miticidal pesticides introduced directly into honeybee hives to protect the bees from the Varroa mite. We find that both have negative impact on honeybee brain function."

"Together, these studies highlight potential dangers to pollinators of continued exposure to pesticides that target the insect nervous system and the importance of identifying combinations of pesticides that could profoundly impact pollinator survival."


'/>"/>

Contact: Rob Dawson
Rob.Dawson@bbsrc.ac.uk
01-793-413-204
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New approaches for controlling pesticide exposure in children
2. Pesticide application as potential source of noroviruses in fresh food supply chains
3. Prenatal exposure to pesticide DDT linked to adult high blood pressure
4. Scientists take objective look at terms least toxic pesticides applied as last resort
5. Combined pesticide exposure affects bumblebee colony success
6. Air in expectant moms homes contains pesticides, border study finds
7. Commonly used pesticide turns honey bees into picky eaters
8. Effect of chronic exposure to chemicals used as weapons, pesticides under study
9. Novel combination therapy shuts down escape route, killing glioblastoma tumor cells
10. Experimental drug combination selectively destroys lymphoma cells
11. FASEB SRC announces conference registration open for: Genetic Recombination & Genome Rearrangements
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2017)... , Feb. 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- ... platform that is designed to enhance fraud detection ... release in the RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence ... organizations to leverage additional insights from internal and ... to better protect their customers from targeted cybercrime ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... Feb. 8, 2017 About Voice Recognition Biometrics ... match it against a stored voiceprint template. Acoustic ... cadence, and tone are compared to distinguish between ... installation, as most PCs already have a microphone ... Voice recognition biometrics are most likely to be ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... 2017 Report Highlights The global ... $8.3 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth ... Report Includes - An overview of the global market ... data from 2015 and 2016, and projections of compound ... the market on the basis of product type, source, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... 2017 China Biologic Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBPO) ("China ... company in China, today announced its financial results for the ... Fourth Quarter 2016 Financial Highlights Total ... in RMB terms, or increased by 13.6% in USD terms ... of 2015. Gross profit increased by 13.3% ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Calif., Feb. 23, 2017 ... dollars, except per share data, unaudited)Three Months Ended December ... BioMarin Revenue $     ... 22832%$ 1,117$   89026%Aldurazyme Net Product Revenue ... 906538%34823946%Naglazyme Net Product Revenue  ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... -- In Atlanta, it seems everyone has a chance to express ... an expressive and dynamic community unlike any other. The businesses ... it. With their newest salon in ... carry on that tradition with a unique, fresh approach to ... is the newest of 13 nationwide locations, each of them ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Baltimore, Maryland (PRWEB) , ... ... ... firm, PathSensors, Inc., announced today that in a published evaluation of multiple ... (PNNL), a U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory, PathSensors’ CANARY® biosensor threat detection ...
Breaking Biology Technology: