The researchers looked at what happens with the bees exposed to a herbicide called glyphosate.
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Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin recently discovered bees “to lose some of the good bacteria in their bowels and are more prone to infection and the death of harmful bacteria” when exposed to a popular herbicide called glyphosate.
A study, published this week in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” describes the method the scientists used to draw that conclusion.
“The researchers exposed honey bees to glyphosate at a level known to occur in cultivated fields, gardens and roadsides. The researchers painted the bee’s back with colored dots, so that they can be tracked and later recaptured,” UT Austin, said in a statement.
Glyphosate has been found to greatly reduced healthy gut microbiota” when scientists looked at after three days.
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The study examined how the bees were affected when they were confronted with a type of pathogen called, Serratia marcescens, also.
“About half of the bees with a healthy microbiome were still alive eight days after exposure to the pathogen, while only about one-tenth of the bees, whose microbiomes had been altered by the exposure to the herbicide were still alive,” the school explained.
Erik Motta, a student who together with the leadership, called for improved protocols.
“We need to be better guidelines for glyphosate use, in particular with regard to bee exposure, because now the guidelines assume that bees are not harmed by the herbicide,” he said in a statement. “Our study shows that’s not true.”
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The school says glyphosate may be “indirectly kill bees.”
But Monsanto — the product Roundup contains the herbicide-has denied that glyphosate is harmful for them.
“Claims that glyphosate has a negative effect on the bees are just not true”, said a spokesman for the company told The Guardian. “No large-scale study found a link between glyphosate and the decline of the honeybee population.”
The representative added, “More than 40 years of robust, independent scientific evidence shows that it poses no unacceptable risk to humans, animals and the environment in general.”