"Ag pesticides not uncommon in trapped pollen"
From Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping
"Researchers in Connecticut, during the 2007 growing season monitored pesticides found in pollen collected in pollen traps. Colonies studied were under normal conditions and were not collapsing or in any other way ill. No colonies died during the experiment.
"The researchers collected the pollen twice a week from four locations in Connecticut during the season. Samples were analyzed using HPLC/MS.
"Results: 102 samples were collected and analyzed. 37 pesticides were detected. 15 insecticide/acaracides, 11 fungicides, 10 herbicides and 1 plant growth regulator. All samples had at least one pesticide detected. The most commonly detected pesticide was coumaphos. Carbaryl and phosmet, both highly toxic to bees were the most commonly detected field pesticides. Imidacloprid was detected 30 times, mostly at low levels. The pesticides found at the highest levels were both fungicides: myclobutanil and boscalid."
Most of us don't realize that coumaphos and imidacloprid, possibly implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), are in use around us nearly every day.
Ever use a flea and tick treatment on your dog or cat? You're probably exposing them, yourself, and the environment to imidacloprid. Using chemicals to kill grubs, those pesky larvae left behind by Japanese beetles, that chew up your lawn? Imidacloprid again. Coumaphos is used by cities and towns to kill mosquito larvae in standing water, even though it's proven highly toxic to birds which eat...mosquitoes and their larvae.
Hate those dandelions on the lawn--even though they're the first food available each Spring for honey bees, bumble bees, and other pollinators? If you're broadcasting a treatment or treated grass seed, or spraying any sort of herbicide on them, you may be contributing to this increase of chemicals in pollen. Pollen gathered by honey bees is used to feed the larvae in their hives and contains the essential food elements for their growth and development.
If there's an alternative to the chemical treatments you use--essential oils, Milky spore, soapy water and a few drops of alcohol in a spray bottle--they might be a little more labor-intensive, but surely they are safer for us all.