Exposure to neonicotinoids. . . reduced the percentage of viable sperm in male honeybees (drones) and also shortened the insects’ lifespans, according to a study published . . .[July 27] in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
“Exposure to common pesticides leads to a decline in sperm quality in honeybees, even when the dose of pesticide provided is so small that it has no effect on growth and development,” Peter Dearden, a geneticist and bee researcher at New Zealand’s University of Otago. . . The levels of pesticides used in these experiments were equivalent to those bees might encounter in a neonicotinoid-treated field. But even a small adverse effect from a low pesticide dose can have serious ramifications, said Dearden. “Because bee society relies on each caste and group of workers doing their job effectively, these sublethal effects, such as an effect on sperm quality may have very significant long-term effects on bee health.”
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The present study is the first to examine the effects of neonicotinoids on male honeybees, said study coauthor Lars Straub of the University of Bern in Switzerland.
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