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How pesticides affect the quality of natural honey

Honey is a sweet, viscous natural food material obtained from the beehive, prepared by honey bees by sucking the nectar either from a single plant or from variant types of the plant.

Since ancient times, it ranks among one of the leading natural food materials which are being used for variety of purposes by the human race.

As the time passed by, scientists developed new pesticides, to protect the plants from the attack of different sort of pests, that leads to the massive increase in their yields.

Contrary to it, the excess usage of the pesticides for crop protection management has emerged as a potential threat for the human health, as these are penetrating deep in the plant materials including their flowering portions, fruits, vegetables but also damaging the beneficial insects, including the honey bees.

The depopulation of honey bee colonies (Apismellifera L.) in various regions of the world, by the exposure of pesticides has grabbed significant attention of scientists and researchers.

These bees are confronted by the plant protection products, at the spraying time through the pollens, during nectar collection and storage in the hive. Potential sources of pesticides for the bees include the surface water and guttation water produced by plants.

Other main source in this regard include the “acaricides” (which are used in apiculture to control the parasitic mite Varroa destructor), which play a crucial role in the contamination of beeswax.

The harmful effects of the pesticides, depends on numerous factors including their dose, route, chemical properties, exposure time and also on the state of the bees.

Most dangerous category of the pesticides for the bees is the insecticides, with especial reference to pyrethrin, neonicotinoid and organophosphate classes, while the fungicides and Herbicides pose less threat to the livelihood of the adult bees.

Prolonged contact and dietary exposure to multi-residues in honey, pollen, and beeswax simultaneously threatens honey bee colonies, quite significantly.

Mixture of pesticides could cause a synergistic effect and escalation in toxicity, which could prove quite lethal for the end-product.

Stern pesticide application standards should be devised in this regard, to avoid this massive loss for the honey bees, which, if not controlled, can have drastic effects on the overall production of pure natural honey by the bees.

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