A new study finds that beekeepers with less than 50 hives are less likely to spray pesticide-containing products on their property than those with more than 50 hive sizes.
“When there is no demand, when there is not much demand, there is little impact to pollinators,” Dr. Michael B. McManus, who led the study with Dr. James F. Fischbach of the University of Michigan, told Reuters Health.
“When there are more people, then you see an increased risk.”
Dr. McMeans was not involved in the study.
The National Honey Bee Research Center at the University at Albany, New York, published the study, which was based on data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service from April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018.
The study included 4,724 beekeepers from 39 states and the District of Columbia, the U-M study found.
The researchers found that the proportion of beekeepers who reported using pesticide-contaminated products on a daily basis decreased from 48.9 percent in April 2017 to 27.3 percent in March 2018.
But when the number of hive owners increased from 100 to more than 1,000, pesticide use on the hive decreased from 46.9 to 28.9 per day, the study found, an increase of just 1.9 percentage points.
A study published earlier this month in the Journal of Insect Physiology found that bees in the United States have more problems than in Europe when it comes to pesticide-related mortality.
In the United Kingdom, for example, the number per colony dropped from 4.2 to 3.8 per bee.
In the United Arab Emirates, the Bee Health Index showed that pesticide-affected colonies were 10 times more likely to die than healthy ones.
In fact, according to a 2016 study published in PLOS Pathogens, there are about 4,500 beekeepers worldwide.