03 Aug Honey Bees Thrive in Agricultural Areas
Recent studies have confirmed that pesticides are a primary culprit for the recent struggles of the honey bee. These studies have concluded that pesticides contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder, a term coined in explanation for the disappearance of honey bee colonies. However, a recent study conducted by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture found that honey bees thrive in agricultural areas where more pesticides are used. In fact, honey bee health actually improved in agricultural areas where pesticides are used compared to wild areas where there are less pesticides in use.
According to Mohamed Alburaki, the lead author of the study, “We’re not saying that pesticides are not a factor in honeybee health. There were a few events during the season where insecticide applications caused the death of some foraging bees… However, our study suggests that the benefits of better nutrition sources and nectar yields found in agricultural areas outweigh the risks of exposure to agricultural pesticides” (University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, 2017).
Beehives that were located in high to moderate agricultural areas actually grew faster and and produced more honey. The research team concluded that beehives located in agricultural areas had better access to food sources than their non-agricultural counterparts. In fact, during the study, two colonies that were located in the non-agricultural areas collapsed because of starvation.
The study is significant and gives more insight into beehive and honey bee health. Placing beehives near viable food sources increases the health and production of honey bee colonies despite the use of pesticides. Although, beekeepers should still be cautious about certain pesticides and work with local farmers when placing beehives in fields.
University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. (2017, May 2). Agriculture is good for honey bees, scientists say: Research finds positive correlation between bee health and presence of agriculture. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170502112603.htm