#Neonicotinoid #pesticide exposure impairs #crop #pollination services provided by #bumblebees (Nature, abstract)

[Source: Nature, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Nature | Letter

Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure impairs crop pollination services provided by bumblebees [   R   ]

Dara A. Stanley, Michael P. D. Garratt, Jennifer B. Wickens, Victoria J. Wickens, Simon G. Potts & Nigel E. Raine

Journal name: Nature – Volume: 528, Pages: 548–550 – Date published: (24 December 2015) – DOI: doi:10.1038/nature16167

Received 08 July 2015 – Accepted 23 October 2015 – Published online 18 November 2015


Recent concern over global pollinator declines has led to considerable research on the effects of pesticides on bees. Although pesticides are typically not encountered at lethal levels in the field, there is growing evidence indicating that exposure to field-realistic levels can have sublethal effects on bees, affecting their foraging behaviour, homing ability and reproductive success. Bees are essential for the pollination of a wide variety of crops and the majority of wild flowering plants, but until now research on pesticide effects has been limited to direct effects on bees themselves and not on the pollination services they provide. Here we show the first evidence to our knowledge that pesticide exposure can reduce the pollination services bumblebees deliver to apples, a crop of global economic importance. Bumblebee colonies exposed to a neonicotinoid pesticide provided lower visitation rates to apple trees and collected pollen less often. Most importantly, these pesticide-exposed colonies produced apples containing fewer seeds, demonstrating a reduced delivery of pollination services. Our results also indicate that reduced pollination service delivery is not due to pesticide-induced changes in individual bee behaviour, but most likely due to effects at the colony level. These findings show that pesticide exposure can impair the ability of bees to provide pollination services, with important implications for both the sustained delivery of stable crop yields and the functioning of natural ecosystems.


Subject terms: Agroecology •  Plant ecology • Behavioural ecology • Ecosystem services

Keywords: Research; Abstracts; Pesticides: Bumblebees.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.