Wild bee colonies damaged by glyphosate, common weed killer ingredient, study finds.

June 16, 2022

Glyphosate, the most popular ingredient in herbicides and the main ingredient in RoundUp, has been found to have a detrimental effect on wild bee colonies.

The study, carried out by scientists at the University of Konstanz in Germany, examined the effects of glyphosate on buff-tailed bumblebees. While the study did not look at the effect of the widespread poison on honeybee colonies, it is known to affect the microbiome of honeybees and could be a cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, and the declining populations of wild honeybees and other pollinators.

The widespread use of glyphosate in agriculture is also likely to be causing a decline in wildflower density in more rural and agricultural regions, killing the essential foraging resources that pollinators rely on.

The discussion of potential effects of glyphosate on humans is ongoing. it has been deemed safe for humans, despite the World Health Organisation identifying it as a ‘probable carcinogen’. This controversy has not prevented glyphosate from being a highly profitable chemical compound for the corporations that use it as an active ingredient in their products.

Several governments, including the Portuguese and Austrian Governments have banned products containing glyphosate. Other countries have announced an eventual ban by phasing out glyphosate use, such as Germany, France, Denmark, and The Netherlands, but it remains approved in the EU until at least July 2023, and until at least December 2025 in the United Kingdom.

The Beekeeper App can inform beekeepers of commercial pesticide and herbicide use in their local area, allowing them to take extra precautions, such as closing-up their hives when local farms announce that they are about to use glyphosate.

Furthermore, the ApiTrace Partnership aim to bring wholesale market access to rural beekeepers who wish to sell their contaminant-free honey and receive instant digital payment at market value with on-site testing of common contaminants. By bringing traceability to African honey, and wholesale market access to producers, ApiTrace will make Africa the world’s 4th largest producer of honey, but the global leader in exports of ethical, organic, contaminant-free honey.