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Study: Wild bees are disoriented, disabled by pesticides

Quebec-based entomologist Madeleine Chagnon, together with her UQAM colleagues, has shown that bees are adversely affected by the chemicals used in seed coating, particularly neonicotinoid insecticides.

While this result has been demonstrated elsewhere in the world in laboratory conditions, over the course of this three year study, free-roaming bees in the wild have been shown to be equally affected: a world first, and an important step in understanding the cause of the worldwide bee die-off.

Used on large swaths of Quebec's territory in corn and canola cultivation, neonicotinoid insecticides have been demonstrated to modify bee brain enzymes, resulting in difficulties flying, navigating, and communicating with other members of the colony.

Since insect (principally bee) pollination is essential to 80% of flowering plants, insect pollinators play an important role in the integrity of the food chain.