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Honey bees lose sleep after ingesting the insecticide, leading to greater stress and lower hive survival.



Honey bees lose sleep after ingesting the insecticide, leading to greater stress and lower hive survival.

Ingestion of Neonicotinoids alters the circadian rhythms of full light / dark and dark feeding bees. Representative action diagrams of foraging bees show (A) control of rhythmic activity, (B) loss of rhythm after taking clothianidin (140 ppb) and movement rhythm patterns changed after oral administration (C) thiamethoxam (140 ppb) and (D) clothianidin (140 ppb). Credit: Vanderbilt University

According to a new study from Vanderbilt University, bees that ingest a common amount of a common pesticide similar to nicotine, called neonicotinoids, are losing sleep. That disruption of circadian rhythms causes honey bees to lose their sense of time and direction, leading to broader stress in highly social bee populations and a lower hive survival rate.


There has long been a mysterious link between the insecticide neonicotinoid and their lethal effect on bees. As soon as the public began to notice a decline in bees, these pesticides were used as a plant maintenance technique. While the relationship seems plausible, it has not been proven. The study, led by Doug McMahon, President Stevenson of Biological Sciences, sought to explore the connection.

The article, “Neonicotinoids disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep in honey bees” was published in the journal Scientific reports on October 21.

Michael Tackenberg, postdoctoral scholar at McMahon lab, said: “I was thinking about the disappearance of honey bees and it provoked – if the insecticide killed the bees indirectly but we don’t know. exactly how, it might be because they are being lost, ”said Michael Tackenberg, postdoctoral scholar at the McMahon lab, an interest in driving the project.

Involved by collaborators – including Manuel Giannoni-Guzmán, another postdoctoral scholar in the McMahon lab – the team has maintained healthy hives to conduct experiments that explore how one A widely used agricultural pesticide sold in home improvement stores prevents bees from taking the rest they need to grow. A single bee can pollinate up to 5,000 flowers per day. Their combined efforts support a third of the world’s food production.

In a series of experiments that exposed bees to constant light, constant darkness and light and dark cycles, researchers found a surprising mechanism by which the insecticide worked. Constant lighting disrupts circadian rhythms in 28% of bees. When the amount of pesticides prevalent in nectar and pollen was added to bees food supplies, the number increased to 46%. “Graphically, normal circadian rhythms look like steady waves,” said Giannoni-Guzmán, the first co-author of the paper. “When we observed bees consuming neonicotinoids for several days, we noticed loss of wave, movement at random times or signs of barely sleeping.”

Exploring this amplification disruption through mass spectroscopy, a technique that identifies and measures chemical compounds in molecules, the team found that neonicotinoids accumulate in the bees brain, disrupting cells. biological clock nerve.

“We have seen how neonicotinoids disrupt the biological clock of honey bees, leaving many children out of a steady sleep-wake rhythm,” said McMahon. “Bees with irregular sleep-wake rhythms often suffer from lack of sleep and skew in their arrangement of time and environment.”

Like people who don’t get enough sleep, bees cannot function well if they are tired and disoriented. “In addition to sleep disruption, we know that honey bees rely on their internal sense of the time and position of the sun,” said Tackenberg, the first co-author of the paper. “If they have inaccurate timing, their ability to navigate effectively will be hindered. There is a reason that if the bee’s inner sensations are disrupted or altered, it could affect learning, memory, and food efficiency – even beyond the likelihood of a drop from sleep disruptions. “This work contributes to the evidence base that shapes how US policymakers adjust Billions of dollars in agriculture and cultivation, which rely primarily on the natural ability of bees to pollinate.

The team plans to take a closer look at the mechanical level of their findings by investigating the neural vessels of honey bees and the effects of neonicotinoids at the molecular level. “Since we now understand that the disruptive effects of pesticides on bee circadian rhythms, there may be a way to help these vital organisms reinforce and maintain copper function,” McMahon said. their lake in the face of this challenge ”.


In terms of balance, several neonicotinoid insecticides may benefit bees:


More information:
Michael C. Tackenberg et al. Neonicotinoids disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep in honey bees, Scientific reports (Year 2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-020-72041-3

Provided by Vanderbilt University

Quote: Honey bees lose sleep after ingestion of pesticides, resulting in greater stress and lower hive survival (2020, November 6) accessed November 8, 2020 from https : //phys.org/news/2020-11-honey-bees-ingesting-pesticides -greater.html

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