New study reveals that bees cannot taste even lethal levels of pesticides

November 21, 2023

This research is important when considering the use of pesticides on outdoor crops due to the risk posed to bees as they will not avoid drinking these compounds. Certain toxic compounds, like quinine, taste “bitter” to bees, so the researchers sought to find out whether this sense of taste could help them avoid drinking pesticides. The researchers also tested the bumblebees’ feeding behaviour by offering them either pure sugar solutions or pesticide-laced sugar solutions to feed on. The results demonstrated that the responses of the neurons were the same whether the bees drank sugar solution or sugar-containing pesticides. The study ‘Mouthparts of the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) exhibit poor acuity for the detection of pesticides in nectar’ has been published in eLife.

The source of this news is from University of Oxford