Often, a colony does not die just due to one of these factors. It’s the additive and synergistic effects that work together to gradually weaken, and ultimately result in the failure of the colony. An issue coming to the attention to more and more researchers is the sub-lethal impacts of pesticides. Even when pesticides are not lethal to honey bees, they can influence them physiologically and behaviorally, sometimes at very low doses.
When I decided to take on a 3-semester long research thesis, I knew I wanted to look at sub-lethal impacts of pesticides on honey bees. I chose a very specific type of behavioral impact that many pesticides are known to influence – the learning ability of honey bees.