Pesticide shrinking worker bees

Exposure to a widely used pesticide stunts growth in worker bumblebees, researchers from the University of London have found. The offspring of the bees are similarly stunted.

Prolonged exposure to a pyrethroid pesticide, used on flowering crops to prevent insect damage, reduces the size of individual bees produced by a colony. The scientists tracked how the bee colonies grew over a four month period, recording their size and weighing bees on micro-scales, as well as monitoring the number of queens and male bees produced by the colony.

Larger bumblebees are more effective at foraging. The size of workers produced in the field may be a key component of colony success, with the smaller bees being less efficient at collecting nectar and pollen from flowers.

Read more at Royal Holloway, University of London