Honey bees might be drawn to the very chemicals that are endangering them, based on experiments in which they preferred drinking sugar water that had been mixed with the poisons rather than sugar water alone.
Evolution may explain why the bees are attracted to the chemicals that are potentially dangerous to their health. But the findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggest herbicides and fungicides [used primarily to fight the Varroa destructor mite] pose a greater risk to honey bee populations than previously believed.
The nectar that forager bees bring back to the hive, where it is produced into honey, can have an effect on the health of the entire colony.
Even with chemicals that are known to have negative effects on bees, there is often still the question of how much exposure the insects are really getting, both in terms of how much the chemicals pervade the surrounding environment and how much bees come in contact with them. For the current study, the scientists found that forager bees were drawn to the fungicide chlorothalonil and the herbicide ingredient glyphosate, found in Monsanto’s Roundup, at certain concentrations.
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