Poison use.

As we resume our hand weeding of jump-seed follow up along the edge of our public road, a couple of observations that are becoming more obvious as we continue. The strips that have been previously sprayed with Round-up (glyphosate) the regrowth is vigorous and lankier. Also there is a distinct absence of fungi’s and worms. Further beyond, next to the public road and where Round-up has not been sprayed there are frogs and native water plants thriving.


Photo from the Independent UK.

Glyphosate (GLY) is a herbicide that is widely used in agriculture and land-care for

weed control. Although reports about the impact of GLY in snails,

crustaceans and amphibians exist, few studies have investigated its sublethal effects in non target organisms such as the honeybee (Apis mellifera), the main pollen vector in commercial crops. Here we tested

whether exposure to three sublethal concentrations of GLY (2.5, 5 and 10mg, corresponding to 0.125,0.250 and 0.500 g per


animal) affects the homeward flight path of honeybees in an open

field. We performed an experiment in which forager honeybees were

trained to an artificial feeder, and then captured, fed with sugar

solution containing traces of GLYand released from a novel site either

once or twice. Their homeward trajectories were tracked using

harmonic radar technology. We found that honeybees that had been

fed with solution containing 10 mg l1 GLY spent more time

performing homeward flights than control bees or bees treated with

lower concentrations. They also performed more indirect homing

flights. Moreover, the proportion of direct homeward flights performed

after a second release from the same site increased in control bees

but not in treated bees. These results suggest that, in honeybees,

exposure to levels of GLY commonly found in agricultural settings

impairs the cognitive capacities needed to retrieve and integrate

spatial information for a successful return to the hive. Therefore,

honeybee navigation is affected by ingesting traces of the most widely

used herbicide worldwide, with potential long-term negative

consequences for colony foraging success.

KEY WORDS: Apis mellifera, Glyphosate, Sublethal

Read more at The Journal of Experimental Biology.

In other words the wide spread use we are now seeing with this herbicide and probably many others are a major factor in the alarming decline of our bee population.


Photo by Rodney Weidland taken here . A honey eater enjoying a coral tree flower during the winter flowering season when there are few native flowering trees.

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