Pesticides have a two-fold impact. They are targeting one population of insects, for instance, but end up having an impact on an unintended recipient of their killing effect. This poses a particularly alarming impact on the bee population.
But, Bees Are Everywhere!
It might seem like you still see bees all over the place during the warm season, but their numbers are declining at an alarming rate. The reason it is important to preserve bees is that they are integral to the pollination of plants, which means that they are integral to the whole ecosystem of the whole planet. If they die off or drop drastically in number, then it would stand to reason that the overall system of plants on the planet would have a tough time surviving as well.
How Bees Are Killed
Bees can be killed in a few manners. One way is simply that a bee happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are doing their busy bee pollinating activities on a plant that is the target of insecticide or pesticide and get sprayed to death. In other cases, the death is not on contact. Instead, they may fly off to do other things, and die later on that day from insecticide poisoning.
Related: Bug Spray Poisoning
Some adult bees may be immune to pesticides while the young bees are euthanized by the insecticide. It depends upon the types of chemicals that are applied and in what volume or dosage.
It turns out that insecticides and pesticides pose a problem of killing off unintended recipients in nearly 100% of cases. That means that pesticides will work on their intended target, but also, nearly 100% of the time kill off other unintended targets.
The harmful effect of pesticides on bees is that it may kill them, even when they are not the intended target. It may be devastating to the bee population because of its ill-effects on the young bees. This, in turn, means that bees will decline in numbers because there is a smaller pool of bees that are reproducing.
Additionally, future generations of bees will further decrease as the pesticides kill off healthy young bees. It is evident now that it is an escalating problem.
The Brain Damaging Pesticides
Beyond killing bees, pesticides may impact the organs of bees. One huge problem is the ill-effects of two of the main pesticides — coumaphos and neonicotinoids — in use on a bee’s brain.
Read more: Neonicotinoid pesticides ‘damage brains of bees’
Less Effective Bees
A brain-damaged bee has trouble recognizing and discerning important floral scents, which is one of its main jobs to properly pollinate. What is even starker to note is that both of these pesticides used in conjunction actually compound the distressing level of disability and ineffectiveness on the bee population.
They have trouble learning and remembering scents, sure. What is worse, though, is that they are unable to make associations between floral scents and nectar.
Meanwhile, coumaphos is targeted to actually help honey bees and their hives. It is supposed to kill a parasite that is harmful to the honey bee.
Neonicotinoids, as the name suggests, are neurotoxins that impact the central nervous system. Its popular use is to coat seeds and potted plants. The insecticide is therefore built into the plant, and impacts the bee population from the get-go and they have no way to escape the ill-effects of the insecticide.
The problem of the ill effects of pesticides and insecticides on bees is potentially devastating. The solution is to provide education both to farmers and amateur growers. This allows consumers to make better decisions about what pesticides to employ and to avoid.