Honeybees ‘Entomb’ Pesticide Tainted Pollen

April 28th, 2011

Via: Spectre Footnotes:

Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert. Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon – bees “entombing” or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighbouring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees. “This is a novel finding, and very striking. The implication is that the bees are sensing [pesticides] and actually sealing it off. They are recognising that something is wrong with the pollen and encapsulating it,” said Jeff Pettis, an entomologist with the US Department of Agriculture. “Bees would not normally seal off pollen.”

But the bees’ last-ditch efforts to save themselves appear to be unsuccessful – the entombing behaviour is found in many hives that subsequently die off, according to Pettis. “The presence of entombing is the biggest single predictor of colony loss. It’s a defence mechanism that has failed.”

Research Credit: cptmarginal

2 Responses to “Honeybees ‘Entomb’ Pesticide Tainted Pollen”

  1. prov6yahoo Says:

    Just tried this:


    It’s made with lemongrass oil. Seems like good stuff.

  2. dale Says:

    So direct evidence of a contributing cause to colony die-off is found in the failed attempt of bees to save themselves; man, that is sad (and it stings a bit).

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