Research has shown that pesticides have an impact on honeybee health, and the European Union has banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides to try to protect our bee populations. Bee populations have been declining globally in recent years; colony collapse disorder (CCD) has killed billions of honeybees in the US.

This is bad for the bees, but it’s also a public concern: bees are considered critically important for the environment and agriculture, as they pollinate more than 80 percent of the crops and wild plants in Europe.

If we want to reduce or stop the global decline in honeybees, we need to know as much as possible about factors that could cause colony losses. But the relationship between pesticide use and bee death is complex, and we’re still trying to figure out exactly what’s happening; it could be a certain combination of pesticides, different concentrations or their changing use over time that’s having the biggest impact. There are hundreds of pesticides currently approved for use in the EU, and before we know which ones are involved in the bee decline, we need to find out which pesticides are poisoning the bees.

In a new study published in the Journal of Chromatography A, researchers present a new method for detecting a whole range of pesticides in bees. They developed the approach based on a method called QuEChERS, which is currently used to detect pesticides in food.

You can read more about this study, here.

This article originally appeared in Journal of Chromatography A, 1435, 2016, Pages 100–114.

The Journal of Chromatography A provides a forum for the publication of original research and critical reviews on all aspects of fundamental and applied separation science.