Colder winters add to colony collapse – Harvard Gazette

Colder winters add to colony collapse – Harvard Gazette

May 9, 2014: By Karen Feldscher, Harvard School of Public Health Communications

Study strengthens link between neonicotinoids, harsher winters, and collapse of honeybee colonies.

Two widely used neonicotinoids — a class of insecticide — appear to significantly harm honeybee colonies over the winter, particularly colder winters, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The study replicated a 2012 finding from the same research group that found a link between low doses of imidacloprid and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which bees abandon their hives over the winter and eventually die. The new study also found that low doses of a second neonicotinoid, clothianidin, had the same negative effect.

Further, although other studies have suggested that CCD-related mortality in honeybee colonies may come from bees’ reduced resistance to mites or parasites as a result of exposure to pesticides, the new study found that bees in the hives exhibiting CCD had almost identical levels of pathogen infestation as a group of control hives, most of which survived the winter. This finding suggests that the neonicotinoids are causing some other kind of biological mechanism in bees that in turn leads to CCD.

The study appears online May 9 in the Bulletin of Insectology.

Here is a link to the full Harvard Gazette aritcle: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/05/colder-winters-add-to-colony-collapse/

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