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Exposure of Hummingbirds and Bumble Bees to Pesticides

New research reveals that hummingbirds and bumble bees are being exposed to neonicotinoid and other pesticides through routes that are widespread and complex. The findings are published in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry

Thursday, July 5, 2018 12:01 am EDT
"Hummingbirds and bumble bees are important pollinators of wild and agricultural plants and they survive each day on a razor’s edge due to their high energy needs"

New research reveals that hummingbirds and bumble bees are being exposed to neonicotinoid and other pesticides through routes that are widespread and complex. The findings are published in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry

To measure exposure to pesticides in these avian pollinators, investigators made novel use of cloacal fluid and fecal pellets from hummingbirds living near blueberry fields in British Columbia. They also collected bumble bees native to Canada, and their pollen, and blueberry leaves and flowers from within conventionally sprayed and organic blueberry farms.

The researchers detected pesticides and related compounds in cloacal fluid and fecal pellets of hummingbirds revealing for the first time that hummingbirds are exposed to and accumulate pesticide exposures of multiple types. In addition, bumble bees, their pollen, and blueberry flowers contained pesticides, with the highest concentration of the insecticide imidacloprid in pollen from organic farms.

“Hummingbirds and bumble bees are important pollinators of wild and agricultural plants and they survive each day on a razor’s edge due to their high energy needs,” said lead author Dr. Christine Bishop, of Environment and Climate Change Canada. “Pesticide exposure in these animals may have impacts on their health and the ecosystem services they provide to humans and wildlife.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/etc.4174

About Journal

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) publishes papers describing original experimental or theoretical work that significantly advances understanding in the area of environmental toxicology, environmental chemistry, and hazard/risk assessment. ET&C is interdisciplinary in scope and integrates the fields of environmental toxicology; environmental, analytical, and molecular chemistry; ecology; physiology; biochemistry; microbiology; genetics; genomics; environmental engineering; chemical, environmental, and biological modeling; epidemiology; and earth sciences.

About Wiley 

Wiley, a global research and learning company, helps people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 210 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

Multimedia Files:

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A Banded Rufous Hummingbird
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Design by Sandi Lee. Photo by Jonathan Moran
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Credit: Peter Roberts
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Rufous hummingbird about to feed. Credit: Johnathan Moran
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