Neonicotinoid apologists reject these studies, in part because the researchers force-feed neonic-laced food to the bees. The critics say that the most important thing for bees is freedom of choice. Give bees the right to pick their own nectar in the wild, they say, and they will eat a wide variety of foods that best suits their individual needs, mostly avoiding the poisonous plants. It sounds oddly like the talking points of soda manufacturers in soda ban debates: Let consumers “make the choice that’s right for them.”
The journal Nature published two studies today that disprove the “freedom of bee choice” theory. In the first, researchers offered bees two food sources: a pure sugar solution and a sugar solution laced with neonicotinoids. The bees did not avoid the contaminated food—they actually preferred it! The researchers then went a step further, testing the bees’ neural response to the insecticide. (Isn’t science amazing?) Although bee brains have bitter-sensing neurons that help detect poison (humans have them, too), this defense mechanism didn’t respond to neonicotinoids. In the end, the neonic-fed bees died earlier than their health food-eating peers, essentially poisoning themselves with junk.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
I don't like this
I just ran across this summation of some bee-related research. Seems the bees are just as good at getting addicted to bad food as we are. That does not bode well for the future...