Drug-Loving Bees Addicted to Pesticides
So you thought only humans could get addicted to drugs, did you. Well, as it turns out, insects may be just as vulnerable to drug addiction, bees in particular. Scientists at Newcastle University and Trinity College Dublin have found that bees are drawn to nectar containing pesticides. And, like any drug addiction, theirs appears to affect their health and wellness. The researchers performed a study where they put plain sugar solution in one container and a sugar solution containing neonicotinoids and the bees chose the food containing neonicotinoids.
This exposure to dangerous toxins could have a serious effect on not just the bees’ fitness, but our own food supply. Bees are relied upon to pollinate many of our crops. They are vital to increasing crop yields. One study showed that neonicotinoids negatively affected bee foraging and overall colony health. The neonicotinoids affect the bees’ brains in a similar way to how nicotine affects humans, making smoking not just a problem for humans but now for bees as well. Consuming the nectar containing pesticides with neonicotinoids has the effect of making those substances feel more rewarding. In light of this research, the public and officials have become concerned over the negative affect this could have on human survival.
Did you know insects could become addicted to nicotine, just like humans? How do you think this will affect our food production?