Seed World

Aluminium a New Factor in Decline of Bee Populations?

A new scientific study found high amounts of aluminium (a variation of aluminum) contamination in bees, raising the question of whether aluminium-induced cognitive dysfunction plays a role in the decline of bumblebee populations.
Previous research suggested that when bees forage for nectar, they do not avoid nectar containing aluminium. This prompted the suggestion that bees might be accumulating aluminium within their life cycle. Researchers at University of Sussex in the United Kingdom collected pupae from colonies of naturally foraging bumblebees and sent them to Keele University where their aluminium content was measured.
The pupae were found to be heavily contaminated with aluminium, with individual contents ranging from between and 13 and nearly 200 parts per million. Smaller pupae had significantly higher contents of aluminium.
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