Global survey finds neonicotinoids in three-fourths of samples
Blaise Mulhauser/Botanical Garden Neuchatel
Neonicotinoid pesticides are turning up in honey on every continent with honeybees.
The first global honey survey testing for these controversial nicotine-derived pesticides shows just how widely honeybees are exposed to the chemicals, which have been shown to affect the health of bees and other insects. Three out of four honey samples tested contained measurable levels of at least one of five common neonicotinoids, researchers report in the Oct. 6 Science.
“On the global scale, the contamination is really striking,” says study coauthor Edward Mitchell, a soil biologist at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. The pesticides are used on many kinds of crops grown in different climates, but traces of the chemicals showed up even in honey from remote islands with very little agriculture.
“I used to think of neonicotinoids as being a [localized] problem next to