Microparticles Help Save the Bees | AIChE

Microparticles Help Save the Bees


Pollinators, such as bees, are vital to the environment and food chain. They facilitate fertilization and production of crop seeds and fruit; in fact, one-third of the food we consume globally is dependent on pollinators. Today, many pollinator populations are declining due to insecticide use, which often harms non-target organisms. On average, studies show that 98% of hives in the U.S. are contaminated with at least six pesticides.

“Over 300 different crops in the U.S. rely on pollination,” says James Webb, a researcher at Cornell Univ. “Three-quarters of flowering plants rely on pollination. Considering that the vast majority of life on earth stems from plants, bees are pretty critical for our ecosystems! Insecticides can have both lethal and sublethal effects on bees. Sublethal impacts range from a whole manner of things such as a reduction in fecundity, foraging impairments, and suppressed immune systems.”

One particularly dangerous type of insecticide, organophosphates (OPs), exhibits high toxicity for honeybees and bumblebees, and is commonly used in environments where these species are known to live and thrive. OPs...

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