Ecology

Fungicides May Be Contributing to Honey Bee Deaths

Chemicals may impair their ability to fight off parasites

|


Honey bees are quickly disappearing from flowers and fields, succumbing to disease and colony collapse disorder. Now, scientists may have found part of the reason why these insects are dying; they've discovered that common agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, could be responsible for impairing bees' ability to fight off a potentially lethal parasite.

Honey bees are an important farm of the ecosystem, pollinating flowers that eventually fruit and produce seeds. Farmers regularly rent bees or keep bees of their own in order to help pollinate crops and produce higher yields. Over the years, though, these insects have begun to disappear. In fact, researchers found that beekeepers lost 31 percent of their colonies in late 2012 and early 2013. That's roughly double of what's considered to be acceptable in terms of losses, according to Wired.