The chemicals in glyphosate cause brain damage in young worker bees (Apis mellifera), affecting both their ability to taste and to learn, which places the future of the colony at risk, the researchers concluded. Other studies conducted in Europe have found that insecticides called neonicotinoids have an impact on honey bee health. In agricultural settings, it is expected that bees would be exposed to significant quantities of both agrochemicals.

Both glyphosate and neonicotinoids had a negative effect on the young bees’ olfactory learning, and reduced sucrose responsiveness or sense of taste, the authors determined. They said glyphosate also reduced food uptake during rearing.

Finally, the study demonstrated that neonicotinoids and glyphosate adversely affect memory, taste and smell in young bees – the very senses and skills required by worker bees to forage for nectar. The authors are concerned that reduced foraging abilities could threaten the survival of the colony, especially toward the end of the summer season.

Source: Genetic Literacy Project

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