Bees play a pivotal role in food production since 35 percent of food highly depends on pollinators like them. However, the population of these pollinators has been declining in recent years. One of the major reasons is the excessive use of pesticides.
In the US, studies reveal that 98 percent of beehives are exposed to six different types of pesticides. This results in colony collapse disorder, which occurs when worker bees vanish or leave the colony behind, while nurse bees are the only ones left to care for the remaining bees.
Beekeepers lose about one-third of their beehives every year due to this problem, which further puts food security at risk.
Researchers from Cornell University have found a way to save bees from pesticides through detoxifying them.
They created a microparticle that’s about the size of pollen to counteract harmful insecticides. This microparticle contains enzymes that can be combined with bee food such as pollen patties or sugar water. When bees consume them, the enzymes help in breaking down the pesticides even before they get to their system.
The researchers used a controlled study to feed bees with microparticles and organophosphate pesticides. It showed that bees had a 100 percent survival rate, while other bees that weren’t fed with pesticide-resistant microparticles died after a few days.
James Webb, one of the writers of the study, is working on products that protect bees from harmful chemicals. That said, Webb clarified that these products do not translate to their promotion of pesticide use.