New research finds that the world’s favorite herbicide is rendering it harder for buff-tailed bumblebees to keep their hives sufficiently warm to generate larvae.
Bumblebees suffer food deficits due to habitat loss and the extensive monocultures of crops. They graze on nectar obtained from plants and stock more of it in their nest like honeybees. They also collect nectar and pollen to nourish their young ones.
Bumblebees are extraordinary in their ability to conserve a collective ‘thermostat’ of types to keep warm in regions where other bees cannot. They do this by adjusting their body temperature and the colony’s warmth by ‘shivering.’
This renders them significant pollinators in more excellent areas and is essential for developing larvae, which can only attain adulthood if their brood is conserved between 25 and 35°C.
As bumblebees are significant pollinators in lab research and are deemed surrogates for how different wild bee species might be influenced, the conclusions of this study are both informative and alarming.
It’s pretty blurred why glyphosate influenced the bumblebees, but based on prior research, the scientists presume that it may be because of the impacts of glyphosate on the bees’ microbiome.
Regardless of the elementary chemical effects, the study concerns the “subtle, nonlethal” consequences of a herbicide once believed to be harmless.