A new in-the-field study has found that a common type of pesticide is badly damaging the wild bees in the United States.
According to the outside experts, the latest findings may contribute in shifting the way the government takes up the case of a controversial class of chemicals.
In the new study, the researchers found honeybees being mild in showing the significant ill effects compared to their wild cousins such as bumblebees. The finding was seen as surprising for some experts.
Another study showed that bees are not repelled by the pesticides in the lab tests.
The researchers said that all kinds of bees, which play a significant role in pollination in plants including the agricultural crops, have witnessed a dramatic decline for various reasons.
Apart from the colony collapse disorder, which has devastated the populations of honeybee in recent years and now is abating, the pesticide problem is one of the most severe problems faced by these pollinators.
The researchers found that the exposure of wild bees to neonicotinoid insecticides led to the reduction of their density, followed by less reproduction and less colonies.
Swedish scientists carried a study using 16 patches of landscape – eight where pesticide were coated on canola seeds and eight where they weren’t coated. The scientists compared both the areas.
Seeing the first result, study lead author Maj Rundlof of Lund University, said, “The reduction in bee health was much more dramatic than I ever expected.”
The areas treated with the pesticide had half as many wild bees per square meter as in areas where there was no use of pesticide.
Moreover, bumblebee colonies present in the pesticide patches had “almost no weight gain” than the normal colonies without any pesticide presence. According to the researchers, such bumblebee colonies were able to gain about a pound.
The environmentalists and activist groups are using the findings of the study to impose pressure on the US government for banning the pesticide class.
The findings of the two studies were published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.