Pesticide Cocktail Lethal for Almond-Pollinating Bees

Bee expert Reed Johnson of The Ohio State University investigated bee deaths among hives taken to pollinate almonds in California and found that a mix of pesticides was responsible. Some growers who were applying fungicide during pollination were also adding an insecticide that was considered bee safe to the mix, and the resulting cocktail was leading to larval death and deformity. In tests, Johnson found that exposure to the mix decreased the survival of larvae by more than 60% in the most extreme cases. “Our research shows that some combinations are deadly to the bees, and the simplest thing is to just take the insecticide out of the equation during almond bloom,” concludes Johnson, and the Almond Board of California has included this recommendation in its Honey Bee Best Management Practices for California Almonds.