Research Roundup: hemp extract can protect bees from pesticides, Polish scientists discover
They found that insects that had been exposed to pesticides and then treated with the hemp extract lived as long as those that had never been exposed to pesticides
In a study of 5,000 captive bees, scientists found that insects that had been exposed to pesticides and then treated with the hemp extract lived as long as those that had never been exposed to pesticides. Photo by Ale-ks/iStock/Getty Images Plus
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Researchers in Poland have discovered a hemp extract that might protect bees from the harmful effects of pesticides.
Aneta Ptaszyńska from the Department of Botany and Mycology at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin headed the research team.
“There are reports that it protects human nerve cells,” she said of the particular extract the researchers used. “We decided to check whether it would be the same in the case of a bee.”
In a study of 5,000 captive bees, they found that insects that had been exposed to pesticides and then treated with the hemp extract lived as long as those that had never been exposed to pesticides.
The USDA and other bodies believe the use of pesticides to be a contributing factor in Colony Collapse Disorder.
The researchers in Lublin have filed a patent application for their extract, according to an Eastern Journal article. “Next year we want to conduct tests in apiaries,” Ptaszyńska said. “If they are equally positive, we would like the product to be available on the market.”
According to research published earlier this year in Environmental Entomology, honey bees just seem to love hemp in general.
Researchers from Cornell University collected bees visiting flowers on industrial hemp farms in New York. They discovered that hemp supported 16 different bee species.
In their abstract, the authors noted that, as an exclusively wind-pollinated crop, “hemp lacks nectar but produces an abundance of pollen during a period of floral dearth in agricultural landscapes.” Hemp plots with taller varieties attracted a broader diversity of bee species.
The authors further noted that hemp has the potential to provide bees with a critical nutritional resource during a period of floral scarcity.
“As cultivation of hemp increases, growers, land managers, and policy makers should consider its value in supporting bee communities and take its attractiveness to bees into account when developing pest management strategies,” they wrote.
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