Honey samples from all over the world were tested and results revealed that 75 percent of the 198 samples are contaminated with traces of chemicals linked to pesticides. 34 percent of the samples were seen to contain a level of contamination that is deemed as detrimental to bee health.
With pesticide chemicals known as harmful to bee health. The contamination does not directly affect humans, but it also does not help the already suffering bee population.
North American honey samples displayed the highest frequency of contamination at 86 percent, followed by Asian and European samples at 80 percent and 79 percent respectively. The samples with the lowest contamination frequency came from South America at 57 percent.
The substance Neonicotinoids are common pesticides which introduced during the mid-1990s. The chemicals involved based on the chemical structure of nicotine. It works by targeting the nervous system of pest insects. Unfortunately, they also inadvertently affect pollinating insects such as honey bees.
In bees, neonicotinoids’ effects include reduced foraging efficiency, cognitive and neurological disorders, reduced immune system efficiency, growth disorders, and limited queen lifespan. Because of this, the European Union (EU) issued a partial ban on the use of such chemicals in 2013.
The honey samples for the current study taken between 2012 and 2016, and found to contain five common neonicotinoids. Thiamethoxam, thiacloprid, imidacloprid, clothianidin, and acetamiprid of the contaminated honey. 30 percent contained one of five neonicotinoids. 45 percent contained two or more and 10 percent contaminated with four or five.
As mentioned, the level of contamination is not particularly harmful to human health. But that doesn’t mean bees are responsible for pollinating 90 percent of the world’s 107 major crops. Their worldwide population is already facing serious decline. Even amidst continuous efforts to save the bees from threats such as pesticides, colony-killing parasites, habitat loss, and poor nutrition.
It’s worth noting that some of the samples taken before the partial ban on neo nicotinoids. But the results present significant evidence as to its negative effects on bee populations. Perhaps further studies may show if the EU’s steps are effective in reducing such detrimental effects.