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A natural pesticide made from potent tarantula venom will protect colonies from pollinators, whose populations are rapidly declining.
A team of researchers from the British University of Newcastle has proposed a new naturally-occurring pesticide that could save bees, whose colonies have been declining at a dizzying rate in recent years.
The valuable formula is called Hv1a / GNA and is made from tarantula venom and a snow daffodil protein (Narcissus graellsii). The researchers say that “offers an alternative"To the highly controversial neonicotinoid insecticides (which act on the central nervous system of insects) currently marketed throughout the world.
To test the toxicity of the venom, a group of bees was made to consume much higher doses of this product than those they could find in nature.
Surprisingly, the effects on their ability to learn and memorize were very slight and “undetectable". Apparently this last aspect is key in the survival of these pollinating insects, according to the scientific journal 'Proceedings of the Royal Society B'.
“The larvae were also undamaged after being exposed to Hv1a / GNA“, Says Géraldine Wright, one of the authors of the article.
“Almost 90% of the plants on the planet depend directly or indirectly on pollinators to survive“, He stresses.
Over the past few decades, bee populations have been declining across the globe, a phenomenon called colony collapse syndrome. The mortality rate of bees is 30% per year since 2007.