Honeybees are incredibly important to our ecosystem, and in recent years it has been discovered just how devastating the impact of pesticides has been on the bee population. Without pollinators like bees, humans wouldn’t be able to produce the crops we need, so it’s important to find a way to both protect the food humans grow and protect honeybees. Researchers at Purdue University are doing just that.
A Research Grant
A five-year research grant has just been awarded to Ian Kaplan, an entomologist at Purdue who specializes in the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on the environment as well as the economy. The grant from the USDA will ensure Kaplan and his colleagues from Ohio State, Michigan State, the University of New Hampshire and Clark University can continue looking at the impact of pesticides used in growing gourds such as pumpkins and melons, on the environment and on honeybees as well as other pollinators.
Making Informed Decisions
Growers of crops such as melons need to be armed with information about the impact of insecticides so they can make decisions about how to control insects as they grow their crops without having a devastating impact on insects that are good for the environment. The research hopes to show people exactly how important honeybees and pollinators are to crop production and find safe ways to keep other insects from hurting crops while keeping pollinators safe.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are used to control insects harmful to crops such as wood-boring and sucking insects, fleas and beetles. It isn’t very toxic to mammals or birds, which is why it is so commonly used. Plus, it is absorbed easily into the soil to be delivered to the plant. Researchers are just unsure of how safe this pesticide is for honeybees.
Rest assured, these researchers will be looking at this pesticide and its impact on pollinators from many angles, all in an effort to not only make growing practices more effective and economical, but safer for every living thing too.