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Bumblebees are getting smaller, say London scientists

Bumblebees could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely used pesticide, a study by Royal Holloway scientists suggests.

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Bumblebees becoming smaller 'due to pesticide'

Bumblebees could be shrinking because of exposure to a widely used pesticide, experts at the University of London say.

  • There's a worry smaller bees will be less effective at foraging for nectar and carrying out their vital task of distributing pollen.
  • Tests which showed how a pesticide called pyrethroid stunted the growth of worker bumblebee larvae, causingthem to hatch out reduced in size.

"Our result, revealing that this pesticide causes bees to hatch out at a smaller size, is of concern as the size of workers produced in the field is likely to be a key component of colony success, with smaller bees being less efficient at collecting nectar and pollen from flowers."

– Gemma Baron, researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London

Pyrethroid pesticides are commonly used on flowering crops to prevent insect damage.

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