Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Refining pesticides to kill pests, not bees

On Science Daily, researchers from Michigan State University's entomology department are trying to increase the effectiveness of pesticides on pests without impact the beneficial bugs. It is mentioned they found the key by molecular tweaking of the pyrethroids. Generally pyrethroids target the voltage-gated sodium channel, which is a protein found in nerve and muscle cells used for electric signaling in pests and bugs. Pyrethroids work by binding to the voltage gate preventing it from closing causing over-stimulation, which leads to the death of the insect. Rearchers have found a pyrethroid insecticide that bees are resistant to which is the tau-fluvalinate. This single protein of the  pyrethroid could make the bees have the same resistance as humans. They believe this discovery could lead to better alternatives in protecting bees while still eliminating pests.

I believe this would be a great advancement in agriculture, I'm aware of the issue about how the bee populations are depleting. Most of the issues are due to pesticides, so this discovery could give bees a chance to repopulate. The benefits of this could possibly help by increasing pollination, because bees are the key players in most of the worlds crop industries. In overall, this discovery could benefit in a variety of ways.


  1. I think it is very interesting that they created this pyrethroid insecticide that would not affect humans and more importantly, bees. Many insecticides have been banned due to their negative impact on the environment and it is great to learn about the different ways they are combating this problem. Hopefully they will expand their protection of bees and look into other species that are needed for the environment such as spiders.

  2. Hopefully scientists put this to good use fast. Bee populations are extremely important and many are declining. One summer I worked for a mosquito spraying company and one of the employees would spray blooming plants that had bees near it when we are instructed not to do so. Needless to see the bees didn't fare to well being drenched in chemical. The owner noticed dead bees and canceled the service.