Scientists have discovered that hemp extract can help bees survive poisoning by pesticides.
The team from Lublin’s Maria Curie-Skłodowska University are the first in the world to test the longevity of bees who have been exposed to pesticides after receiving hemp extract.
Team leader Professor Aneta Ptaszyńska said: “There are reports that hemp extract protects human nerve cells, we decided to check whether it would be the same in the case of a bee.
“For now, we know that the extract extends the life of bees that have been exposed to pesticides.
“The tested insects lived comparatively as long as those that had never had contact with harmful substances.”
The discovery could be a major breakthrough in bee conservation and not only save bees around the world but also help protect the variety of ecosystems that they contribute to.
As pollinators, bees play an integral role in lots of ecosystems.
They support the growth of flowers, trees, and other flora, which serve as food and shelter for other creatures along the food chain.
The Lublin team studied around 5,000 bees living in cages and will conduct further research next year on bees living in apiaries in various locations, if successful they will bring their solution to market.
Professor Ptaszyńska said: “Bees are dying because they are malnourished and weakened by the use of pesticides and then they start to suffer from various diseases.
“One of them is nosemosis. It attacks the digestive system, causes weakness and cachexia (muscle loss). Bees cannot digest and absorb nutrients and then they simply die.”
The team has now filed a patent after finding no other researchers had discovered about the benefits of hemp extracts for the bees immunity.