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Insecticides May Be to Blame for Honeybee Deaths

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Insecticides May Be to Blame for Honeybee Deaths

One more reason to buy organic? Scientists have been puzzling over the widespread deaths of honeybees, and a new study suggests that insecticides may be to blame.

Scientists have been puzzling and puzzling over the widespread deaths of honeybees in recent years, and a new study supports the hypothesis that insecticides may be to blame.

The researchers studied dead bees, and found their bodies to contain toxic levels of insecticides (including neonicotinoid insecticides) from soybean and corn crops. Neonicotinoid insecticide is extremely toxic to honeybees, but widely used. Some of these harmful sprays can even be found contaminating soil years after they were added to plants.

When we think of honeybees, we all too often think of the nasty stings they can give, or of the health-promoting gifts they provide, such as bee pollen, royal jelly, beeswax, and honey.

However, honeybees are also essential for pollinating plants that become food for many different species. Their disappearance would create a serious gap in the food chain, impacting countless others. It is estimated that one-third of honeybee hives are disappearing every year in the US—resulting in what is called the Colony Collapse Disorder.

It’s not clear whether the insecticides is the sole factor in the declining number of honeybees (they likely aren’t) but they could be one strong factor causing stress to the honeybee population. Other theories include parasitic mites and pathogens. Regardless, this may be just one more reason to make the switch to organic food!

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