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Pesticides Contribute to Bee Colony Collapse, Report Suggests

Scientists believe a combination of factors contributes to Colony Collapse Disorder, including habitat loss, parasites and viruses. But recent studies point to a common group of pesticides called neonicotinoids as a significant factor.

Paul Towers is with the Pesticide Action Network North America. He says current science suggests even low levels of pesticides can cause serious damage to bee colonies. "While they may not kill the bees outright they suppress or depress their immune system, and make them vulnerable to a whole host of other factors, these other pathogens, varroa mite chief among them, poor nutrition," said Towers.

Studies of corn grown from seeds treated with these pesticides show that the chemical does work its way into the pollen.

Several European Union countries have already limited use because of the risk to honeybees. The issue is currently the subject of a resolution in the California Assembly.

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