Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bees forage on corn

We assume that corn is wind pollinated, but bees do forage on corn pollen as well. That is one of the reasons why neonicotinoid pesticides are so dangerous. Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides and although applied to the seed, residues are found in the corn pollen.

There are over 450 species of wild bees in BC. who are important ecosystem pollinators. Wild bees such as bumble bees, leaf cutter bees and blue orchard bees provide important pollination services to farmers. Neonicotinoids are lethal to these bees affecting their maturation rate and their ability to reproduce. Unfortunately, wild bees cannot be moved away from corn and other commercially grown treated plant species during the period of pollen production.

Recently, a panel of 50 scientists that formed the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides studied 800 research papers on pesticides. The combined papers provided conclusive evidence that pesticides are causing mass deaths of bees and butterflies. Neonicotinoides can persist in soil for months or years after a single application. The studies concluded that the use of pesticides present a significant risk to the ecosystem by harming microorganisms and earthworms in the soil.

Bees foraging on corn in the children's community plots at McDonald Park 

Bees foraging on sunflowers  in the children's community plots at McDonald Park

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