This article discusses how the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup hurts honey bee guts. The weedkiller glyphosate decreases microorganisms in honey bee guts and these changes leave them more susceptible to death, according to a new study.
Honey bees exposed to levels of glyphosate commonly found in the environment had decreased amounts of microbiota in their gut—which leaves them prone to early death, according to a study released today.
Honey bees’ health is directly tied to the helpful organisms in their gut. These “microbiota” help the bees’ metabolism, weight gain and immune system. The new findings go against previous claims that glyphosate — the active ingredient in Bayer’s Monsanto Roundup weedkiller — does not harm wildlife, and offers another possible clue as to why honey bee colonies are dying at an increased rate.
“Gut microbiota is involved in nutrition for bees, helping break down components of cell walls in pollen grains and protecting against different pathogens,” Nancy Moran, senior author of the study and evolutionary biologist at the University of Texas, told EHN.
She and colleagues published the study today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).