Saturday, 30 December 2017

More Bumbling?


Yet another worrying development. It, counter-intuitively, appears that the wide-spread use of fungicides (notably Chlorothalonil) on crops over a wide area of the US is decimating bumble-bee populations, particularly by reducing their resistance to nosema, a small fungal parasite (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/29/alarming-link-between-fungicides-and-bee-declines-revealed). The bees are responsible for three quarters of pollination events of crops, so their loss could be devastating to farming and food production. It is interesting to speculate whether use of the fungicides has facilitated the emergence of resistant strains of nosema and, by eliminating other fungi, has greatly increased the exposure of visiting insects to this agent.

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