Spider venom used to make bee-friendly pesticide

June 09 , 2014

Research has concluded a new bio-pesticide created using spider venom is safe for honey bees but highly toxic to other insects, potentially paving the way for a global change in pest management. Bee taking pollen 1234 panorama

The U.K.'s Newcastle University led the study testing the pesticide Hv1a/GNA, which is a combination of a natural toxin from an Australian funnel-web spider and the protein snowdrop lectin.

It was found to have very little effect on the bees' crucial learning and memory abilities, which are needed to both locate new sources of food and find their way back to the hive.

Newcastle University's Professor Angharad Gatehouse said in a press statement she believed the innovation could widely be used instead of the conventional chemical neonicotinoid pesticides which had been linked with a decline in pollinator populations.

"Our findings suggest that Hv1a/GNA is unlikely to cause any detrimental effects on honeybees. Previous studies have already shown that it is safe for higher animals, which means it has real potential as a pesticide and offers us a safe alternative to some of those currently on the market," she said.

The insecticide is ingested orally, unlike many others which are absorbed through the exoskeleton. Although it can pass through bees' digestive system without adversely affecting them, it will kill many other undesirable insects common found on crops.

Newcastle University's honeybee lab head Dr. Geraldine Wright emphasized the importance of developing bee-friendly insecticides for future food security.

"Around 90% of the world's plants are directly or indirectly reliant on pollinators to survive. If we destroy the biodiversity of pollinators then it will be irrelevant how effective our pesticides are because we won't have any crops to protect," she said.

"There is now substantial evidence linking neonicotinoid pesticides to poor performance and survival in bees and what we need now is a clear directive from Government to develop and introduce bee-safe alternatives."

Despite the positive news, Professor Gatehouse added much more work still had to be done in the industry to support bee populations.

"There isn't going to be one silver bullet. What we need is an integrated pest management strategy and insect-specific pesticides will be just one part of that," she said.

The research project was part of the Insect Pollinators Initiative, jointly funded several organizations including the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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  1. william says:

    can t wait to feed my grandkids some yummy spider venom ... like TONY THE TIGER SAID THATS GREAT .


    FORGET ABOUT TOXIC SPIDER VENOM. Safe and effective conventional products are already available to the agriculture industry. They are called neonicotinoid insecticides. There is NO unambiguous evidence to suggest that neonicotinoid insecticides are to blame for bee colony collapse disorder. Under normal use, neonicotinoid insecticides will cause no harm. In the European Union, prohibition against neonicotinoid insecticides was a reaction to mere over-heated rhetoric. Why are neonicotinoid insecticides environmentally-friendly and cause no harm to bees ? It is because they are coated on agricultural seed, and the seed is buried in the soil, so it is inaccessible to the bees. Moreover, neonicotinoid insecticides have extremely low toxicity to humans, extremely low toxicity to other mammals as well as birds and fish. They have NO persistence beyond the levels that you would expect in an agricultural field for one year. Additionally, there is NO reason to believe that neonicotinoid insecticides persist in water over long periods of time. In fact, studies in both Europe and in North America have proven there is NO accumulation and NO bio-accumulation after 10 consecutive years. Science and statistics DO NOT support demands to recklessly prohibit against neonicotinoid insecticides used in the agriculture industry. There are NO valid reasons for their prohibition. If we had less conventional neonicotinoid use in the environment, we would still have bee colony collapse disorder, because MANY BEE-KEEPERS ARE NOT COMPETENT TO MANAGE THEIR HIVES. For the whole truth regarding bees, go to ... http://wp.me/p1jq40-7zT http://wp.me/p1jq40-6WJ http://wp.me/P1jq40-2BA http://wp.me/p1jq40-6H8 http://wp.me/p1jq40-7ty NORAHG is the National Organization Responding Against HUJE that seek to harm the Green space industry. WILLIAM H. GATHERCOLE AND NORAH G. Get the latest details at The Pesticide Truths Web-Site http://pesticidetruths.com/ and go to The Complete Library Of Web-Pages, Reports, & References http://wp.me/P1jq40-2rr