Recent research and the EU's temporary ban on neonicotinoid pesticides has brought the threats to bees and other pollinators on the agenda again. While manufacturers insist that neonicotinoids aren't toxic to bees in concentrations found in the environment, the interest now focuses on the more subtle effects the substances may have. For instance, by making bees forgetful, even sublethal doses can endanger the survival of the colony.
Read all about it in my feature that came out in Current Biology last week:
EU ban puts spotlight on complex effects of neonicotinoids
Current Biology, Volume 23, Issue 11, R462-R464, 3 June 2013 doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.05.030
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(one of my many bumblebees on Flickr)
Incidentally, in this month's issue of Chemie in unserer Zeit I also have a piece on bees' memories. Unlike the neonicotinoids, caffeine seems to improve it.
Pflanzeninhaltsstoffe: Koffein stärkt Gedächtnis der Bienen
Chemie in unserer Zeit
Volume 47, Issue 3, page 146, Juni 2013 DOI: 10.1002/ciuz.201390029