Bee afraid, bee very afraid - Neonicotinoids and the nAChRs family

The reasons for the decline are currently not clear. However, some studies have linked the reduction in bee numbers to a widely-used class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, that have been broadly administered in large-scale crop production since the mid 1990’s – the same time that mass bee disappearances started to be reported 2. These nicotine-like chemicals, which include three key neonicotinoids: thiamethoxam 3, clothianidin 4,5 and imidacloprid 6,7,8, are considered safe for mammals, but are highly toxic to insects.

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Disappearing bees and reluctant regulators

Imagine this: You're a commercial beekeeper, who relies entirely on keeping honeybees for making a living. You head out one morning to examine your bees and find that thousands of your previously healthy hives have "collapsed" mysteriously, after your bees pollinated crops in the fields of one of the farmers with whom you contract. Your bees have abandoned their hives, and they've not returned.

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