Dr. John Bryden and Professor Vincent Jansen from the School of Biological Sciences at the Royal Holloway University of London have made the first discovery of the connection between commonly used pesticides and bee death according to research published at the Royal Holloway website on Oct. 6, 2013.
The low levels of neonicotinoid pesticides normally used for crop pest control do not kill bees directly. The exposure of bees to the normal levels of neonicotinoid pesticides used to protect crops adds sufficient stress to bees that produces behavioral modifications.
The bees become erratic and do not perform their normal function nor do the bees cooperate with other bees in a colony as they usually would. The bee colony collapses when a sufficient number of bees begin to display this aberrant behavior.
These results were verified by field tests and laboratory tests where bees were exposed to small amounts of pesticides.
This discovery is considered a breakthrough in the variety of research conducted on colony collapse disorder and the death of bees across the world.
The researchers propose a change in the chemistry of pesticides to prevent stress on bees. Stressed bees do not live as long or perform their job as well as more relaxed bees. Bees provide the pollination necessary for one third of all the food humans consume.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed no restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides to date.