Pesticides are an integral part of conventional agriculture. Insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides help maximize crop quantity and quality by reducing the pests and diseases that cause damage. Unfortunately, non-target organisms such as pollinators can come in contact with these pesticides while foraging. In addition, beekeepers also apply pesticides to their colonies to control for Varroa mites.
Research is beginning to show that some pesticides are harmful for pollinators. They can have negative effects at the individual level (such as mortality, foraging, or learning), the sub-individual level (such as gene expression or physiology), or even the colony level (such as colony growth, overwintering, or honey production). Explore the following posts to find up-to-date scientific summaries of how pesticides impact bee health.
If you'd like to learn more about proper application of pesticides or other pesticide information, check out Cornell's Pesticide Management Education Program at http://pmep.cce.cornell.edu.