By Ovidio Castro Medina
Bogota, Oct 11 (EFE).- With millions of beehives dying from pesticide poisoning across the world every year, Colombian scientists have sought to save the insects that are vital to humans as one-third of the crops consumed require bee pollination.
Researchers at the Faculty of Natural Sciences in Bogota’s Rosario University have developed a superfood that protects bees from the negative effects of the toxins in pesticides.
The supplement, which can be administered in liquid or solid form, is deposited in places near hives where bees look for pollen.
“Our results show that nutritional supplementation protects the capacities of learning and memory, motor control and sensory sensitivity of bees,” Andre Riveros, an associate professor at the university’s Biology Department, tells EFE.
Riveros adds that the patent-protected product keeps bees safe from experiencing pesticide-induced physiological and behavioral changes.
The scientists have focused their research on honey bees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus impatiens), which are the world’s most important pollinators, according to Riveros.
For the sake of the research, Rosario University built an apiary in 2020 at its headquarters using bamboo plants in the structure.
“The established apiary is a sample of our coherence in the search for ways to protect bees,” Riveros explains.
The next step is to transfer the achieved knowledge so that investors can develop the product for it to go on the market, according to Riveros.
“The goal is to achieve an alternative within the reach of beekeepers that recognizes the challenges faced by farmers and that can be meshed with other strategies to protect bees,” the biologist says.
He stressed that the decline in pollinators would negatively affect not only the quantity but also the quality and diversity of foods.
Riveros adds that although pesticides are necessary to protect crops from pests, they result in fatal consequences on pollinators such as trembling, memory problems, and compromised immune systems.EFE