Pollen collected by European bees contaminated with pesticides

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New research by Greenpeace has revealed that the pollen collected by European bees contains a ‘toxic cocktail’ of up to 17 different pesticides.

Data collected in a report shows that the pollen gathered from 12 EU countries contains a wide range of insecticides, acaricides, fungicides and herbicides.

The study found traces of at least one of 53 pesticides in 72 of the 107 trapped pollen samples and at least one of 17 pesticides in 17 of the 25 samples of comb pollen.

Greenpeace said, “The exposure of bees and bee larvae to mixtures of pesticides is of significance because recent research has established that some components of the mixture are capable of interacting in a synergistic manner, such that the mixture proves more toxic than its individual components.”

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    The green campaign group urged governments to implement bee strategies and favour ecological farming over pesticides in order to control pests and diseases.

    Matthias Wüthrich, Greenpeace ecological farming campaigner, said, This study on contaminated pollen reveals the unbearable burden of bees and other vital pollinators. Bees are exposed to a cocktail of toxic pesticides.

    “This is yet more proof that there is something fundamentally wrong in the current agricultural model which is based on the intensive use of toxic pesticides, large-scale monocultures and corporate control of farming by a few companies like Bayer, Syngenta and co. It shows the need for a fundamental shift towards ecological farming.”

    The European commission banned three pesticides in December, following warnings by scientists and environmentalists that the chemicals were causing bee colonies’ decline in the continent.

    The EU recently unveiled a study, which showed that the colony death rate was particularly high in Northern Europe, especially in Belgium and the UK.

    Photo: born 1945 via flickr

    Further reading:

    UK and northern Europe among worst EU regions for honeybee deaths

    EU ban on bee-harmful pesticides to begin in December

    Banned pesticide interferes with bees’ ability to gather food

    Chemical giants did ‘furious lobbying against EU measures to save bees’

    Study: presence of bees ‘underestimated’ and improves value of crops