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Pesticides and Loss of Food Sources Cause Wild Bee Decline, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, published results of a study showing that loss of flowering plants and pesticide use combine to drastically reduce wild bee reproduction. This research found that blue orchard bee reproduction was reduced by 57% and there were significantly fewer female offspring when the bees were exposed to the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid and had less access to flowers. The pesticide exposure was responsible for greater declines than deprivation from food alone. A press release noted that “the research can help farmers make decisions about how they manage the environment around orchards. It reinforces the need for growers to carefully think about the location where they plant flowers for bee forage, to prevent flowers from becoming traps that expose bees to pesticides.”