WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., May 31 (UPI) -- Honeybees acquire pesticides as they collect pollen from non-crop plants, a new study finds.
Even honeybees that live in agricultural regions get most of their pollen from non-crop plants. Avoiding commercial crops isn't sparing bees from potentially harmful pesticides.
Researchers at Purdue University tracked the pollen sources and pesticide levels of honeybees over the course of 16 weeks. Samples taken from their hives revealed pollen foraged from 30 plant families. The samples contained residues of pesticides from nine chemical classes, including neonicotinoids -- a pesticide implicated in colony collapse disorder.
"Although crop pollen was only a minor part of what they collected, bees in our study were exposed to a far wider range of chemicals than we expected," Christian Krupke, professor of entomology, said in a news release. "The sheer numbers of pesticides we found in pollen samples were astonishing."