‘Safe’ Levels of Pesticide Still Hamper Bees’ Memory and Ability to Learn

bee on yellow flowerFrom Smithsonian.com, July 12, 2018.

The honeybee’s foraging routine is deceptively complex. To track down food and ensure the survival of the colony, worker bees must draw on their knowledge of smells, patterns and efficient routes to and from the hive—a process that requires the insects to remember an encyclopedic amount of information.

Bees are currently experiencing an unprecedented decline in population, and according to a new study conducted by researchers from Royal Holloway University of London, their troubles are far from over. The team’s findings, published yesterday in the Journal of Applied Ecology, suggest that the widespread use of pesticides is hindering bees’ capacity for learning and memorization.

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