Seed World

Common Insecticide Doesn’t Significantly Harm Honeybees

A new study from the University of Maryland shows that the world’s most common insecticide does not significantly harm honeybee colonies at real-world dosage levels.
The study, which was published March 18 in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at the effects of the insecticide imidacloprid (often used as a seed treatment) on honeybee colonies over a three-year period. To see significant negative effects, including a sharp decrease in winter survival rates, the researchers had to expose the colonies to at least four times as much insecticide encountered under normal circumstances. At 20 times the normal exposure levels, the colonies experienced more severe consequences.
The study does not totally absolve imidacloprid of a causative role in honeybee colony declines. Rather, the results indicate that insecticides are but one of many factors causing trouble for the world’s honeybee populations.
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