Aug 20, 2015

Bee-killing pesticides found in 63% of streams tested by U.S. Geological Survey

At least one form of neonicotinoids blamed for killing bee populations was found in 63 percent of 48 streams studied by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey for a study published in Environmental Chemistry. Overall, neonicotinoids were found in 53 percent of collected samples. The study, from 2011-2014, included samples from 24 states and Puerto Rico.

"Researchers found that the pesticides were present throughout the year in urban streams, while the chemicals typically were seen at higher levels in agricultural streams in 'pulses' during crop planting season," Sam Pearson reports for Environment & Energy Publishing. "Researchers said they detected six neonicotinoids at varying levels, including the pesticide imidacloprid in 37 percent of samples, clothianidin in 24 percent, thiamethoxam in 21 percent, dinotefuran in 13 percent and acetamiprid in 3 percent. None of the concentrations exceeded Environmental Protection Agency aquatic life criteria or are likely to be carcinogenic to humans, the study said."

Michele Colopy, program director at the Pollinator Stewardship Council," told Pearson, "One of the issues we all forget with pesticide exposure and bees is that bees drink water. We think that they just go and get all their liquids from the nectar in the plants, and they do not." She said the pesticides "may be a sign that they affect other insects whose health has not seen the same public attention currently given to pollinators." (Read more