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Bees ‘entomb’ pesticide-tainted pollen in effort to protect themselves from extinction

In World News on April 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

By Jonathan Benson

A crucial lifeblood to agriculture, bees continue to face threats of extinction by things like pollution and pesticides, both of which are implicated in causing mass bee die-offs, also known as “colony collapse disorder” or CCD.  And scientists say that because of this massive onslaught of toxins, bees are actually entombing, or sealing off, their hive cells in an attempt to quarantine polluted pollen and prevent it from destroying the entire colony.

The Guardian writes that scientist began noticing differences among hive cells containing normal pollen, and others containing tainted pollen. The tainted cells were sunken and covered with a waxy layer of propolis, a sticky resin substance with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Upon analysis, the propolis-covered cells were found to contain high levels of pesticides and other toxic pollutants, indicating that the bees were purposely covering them in propolis to protect the hive.

“This is a novel finding, and very striking,” said Jeff Pettis…

Original article…

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