Over two thirds of the pollen that honeybees collect from European fields is contaminated by a cocktail of up to 17 different toxic pesticides.
The study, “The Bees´ Burden - An analysis of pesticide residues in comb pollen (beebread) and trapped pollen from honey bees”, is the largest of its kind, comprising over 100 samples from 12 European countries. In total 53 different chemicals were detected. In addition to pesticides-related chemicals, the report also identifies substances used in insecticides, acaricides, fungicides and herbicides.
The study is a snapshot of the toxicity of Europe’s current agricultural system. It demonstrates the high concentrations and wide range of fungicides found in pollen collected around vineyards in Italy, the widespread use of bee-killing insecticides in pollen from rape fields in Poland, the detection of DDE, a derivative of DDT, a pesticide banned decades ago, and the frequent detection of the insect nerve-poison Thiacloprid, a neonicotinoid, in many samples from Germany.
The Bees Burden