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Scientists Find Potential Culprit For Colony Collapse Disorder

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See our California Matters with Mark Bittman segment on native pollinators here.

A chemical previously thought to not harm bees actually leaves them vulnerable to parasites, according to a new study by the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The journal PLOS ONE published the study today, which points to fungicides, previously thought to be harmless to honey bees, as a culprit in causing mass illness in bees, which eventually leads to Colony Collapse Disorder.

Miticides, previously thought to only kill non-beneficial insects, were also pointed to as a source of illness in bees.

Quartz writer Todd Woody explained it thusly:

Scientists also found that honey bees are less attracted to native North American crops. "...crops that saw high levels of pollen collection by honey bees are Old World crops that evolved with honey bees as natural pollinators. Crops native to the New World, where honey bees have been introduced, yielded little or no pollen in our samples."

The result of this study, if anything, may be new labeling standards for agricultural chemicals.

Read the original study here.