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Scientists discover pesticides are reason behind bee kill-off

Scientists have been confounded by the rapid disappearance of bee colonies across the U.S. and around the world, but two recent studies suggest that pesticides are playing a leading role in the decline, The New York Times reports.

The journal Science published two studies recently in which scientists suggest that low levels of a commonly used pesticide can have a devastating effect on bee colonies, the news outlet reports. One study by French researchers noted that the pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, may cloud honeybees' brains, making it difficult for them to return home to the colony. A British study showed that the chemicals prevent bumblebees from supplying the hive with enough food to create more queens.

These pesticides are commonly used by farmers to protect grains, cotton, beans, vegetables and many other crops, according to The Washington Post. Some people are starting petitions to ban the use of this chemical on farms in order to save the bees.

"People have asked me to sign petitions to ban or limit the use of the neonicotinoids for some time, but I never did because I really didn't know if they were having a major impact on the bees," David Goulson of the University of Stirling in Britain, co-author of one of the studies, told the publication. "After seeing what we and the others found, I'm much more inclined to sign."
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