Activity: Other activity types › Schools engagement
We use over 300 different pesticides to protect our crops and gardens. They work by killing insect pests but cannot distinguish an unwanted insect from a beneficial one. Many chemicals can't even recognise an insect and are also highly toxic to fish, birds, cats, dogs and humans. A new class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, are based on nicotine and can distinguish insects from mammals. Unfortunately they do not distinguish between insects but do benefit from being of low toxicity to humans.
These chemicals are applied to the crop seeds before planting, are taken up into the plants and can be found at extremely low levels in both their nectar and pollen. Unfortunately, this is the food reward provided by plants to the beneficial insects that pollinate them. We have found that these low levels do not kill bees but can affect their brains, making them less smart. Therefore, bees can't learn how to be efficient food gathering communities and so the entire colony is weakened.
18 Jun 2014
High School of Dundee - Inspiring Education Lecture Series 2014