New research cites glyphosate as threat to bees

A study shows that honey bees that are exposed to glyphosate have trouble finding their way home.A study shows that honey bees that are exposed to glyphosate have trouble finding their way home.

As if honey bees didn’t have it bad enough, a new study has found that exposure to the chemical glyphosate – the active ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup – impairs a bee’s ability to return home.

The study, conducted by German and Argentinian scientists, was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. The researchers reported that they had captured foraging honey bees and fed them a solution that had traces of glyphosate in it. The bees were then released and tracked with harmonic radar technology.

In the first release, the treated bees traveled homeward more often than the control bees, but in an indirect fashion. In the second release, the bees that had consumed glyphosate were unable to improve their navigation from the release site to the hive.

The scientists theorized that exposure to glyphosate can reduce bees’ ability to retrieve memories, an idea based on the fact the treated bees were unable to take direct flights to the hive, even after experience.

According to the study, feeding on nectar with traces of glyphosate can affect the learning and memory of bees, causing them to struggle to navigate between food sources and the hive.

Glyphosate is one of the most widely used non-selective herbicides. In recent years, between 13 and 20 million acres have been treated with 18.7 million pounds annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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