The use of pesticides and other major environmental pressures are recently putting bees, other pollinators, and even pollination itself under threat, according to a new meta-analysis.

According to Nature, this quantitative statistical analysis reveals that combined agrochemicals, malnutrition, and parasites have an increasingly adverse effect on bees. More so, the pesticide-to-pesticide interactions increase the mortality rate of bees.

Globally, thousands of species of wild and managed insects are pollinating flowers, helping in plant reproduction. In doing so, these species form an important link in species interactions supporting biodiverse and ecosystems.

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Science Times - Bees, Other Pollinators, Pollination Under Threat Due to Environmental Pressures: Study Shows Impacts of Pesticides on These Pollinators
(Photo: John Severns on Wikimedia Commons)
Globally, thousands of species of wild and managed insects, including bees, are pollinating flowers, helping in plant reproduction.

Under Threat

As indicated in the report, both pollinators and pollinations are under threat because of environmental pressures, which include many that result from hum activity.

Such pressures include land use, climate change, intensive agriculture, the spread of intrusive foreign species, problems with pests, and other disease-causing agents.

As specified in the meta-analysis, Agrochemicals interact synergistically to increase bee mortality, published in Nature, the distinct impacts of such pressures on pollinators "are well established," bringing up the question of whether an interaction between the different pressures aggravates the general risk they are posturing to pollinators and pollination.

This problem has been acknowledged by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which started several years ago that a lot of drivers that directly affect pollinators' health and their abundance and diversity can associate in their effects and thus increase the general pressure on pollinators.

Interactions Between Stressors on Bees

The researchers advance the knowledge on the sources of stress on pollinators through the quantitative meta-analysis of the impact of interactions between agrochemical, nutritional, and pathogenic stressors on several aspects of health and fitness in bees.

In a similar report, the Green Reporter said, the analysis is quite remarkable due to the extensiveness of bee reactions considered and the interactions of several classes of stressors compared.

Bee responses include their scavenging behavior, memory, mortality, and reproduction of colony. Stressor classes, on the other hand, comprise agrochemical-to-parasite, parasite-to-nutrition, agrochemical-to-agrochemical, and parasite-to-parasite interactions.

The authors carried out what's described in the Nature report as a "monumental literature search" that generated nearly 15,000 significant individual studies.

Looking Beyond Interactions Between Stressors and Pollination

Given the extensive damage of habitat resources like pollen and nectar, from intensively succeeded landscapes in agriculture, nutritional shortages took place unexpectedly rarely as a mechanism that underlies the psychological stress of bees, accounting for just "58 of 365 measurements of effect sizes," the study indicates.

Additionally, greater consideration of how nutritional stress interacts with exposure to agrochemicals and pathogens is thereby an evident gap in research to fill.

Also, guaranteeing that investigational treatments are regulated to mimic realistic environmental situations would significantly help assess threats.

As indicated in this report, the next challenge is to look beyond such interactions between parasites, nutrition, and agrochemical to consider other threats to pollination.

Future research needs to eventually consider, through combined correlative and experimental methods, the interplay of nutrition-pathogen-agrochemical interactions together with the impacts of other manmade changes like pollution and land-use changes, and climate change, as well as the spread of invasive species.

Even though such analyses would be non-trivial to perform, they will be essential for understanding and positioning relative threats to pollinators and pollination that come from several combinations of pressures caused by global changes.

Related information about bees is shown on Eco Sapien's YouTube video below:


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