It is conclusive that neonicotinoids alter navigation in bees when locating food sources. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0091364

But if so, shouldn't cognition also be affected? And if it is affected, then wouldn't the effect on the hive be even more pronounced due to inaccurate bee dances and an overall delay/inability in finding food source? Shouldn't this be conclusive in explaining neonicotinoids to be a contributor to colony collapse disorder?


1 Answer 1


It is assumed that this effect of locomotive behavior IS an effect on cognition (1-4). Navigation requires snapshot memory, learning, and attention (2-4). You asked if this effect of neonicotinoids on cognition manifests itself through other vital behaviors. The short answer, yes. Specifically neonicotinoids are shown to effect mating, queen behavior, and foraging short and long distance (5-7). It is suggestive that neonicotinoids are a contributing factor in collapsing colonies with both meta analysis and direct evidence of effects on behavior (5-8). I think you are more questioning why people have not done anything about this issue or more definitive in their action against colony collapse. That is more of a political issue. Since the pesticide does not have as many human health effects at levels that cause bee collapse, the policies to resolve this issue are not as clear. EPA has discussed making restrictions regarding use the use of neonicotinoids, but they will still be used. However, they have actually been banned in France due to these effects. Hope that answered your question!


  1. Honey Bee Behaviors doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01601-6
  2. Bee Navigation and Memory doi:10.1006/anbe.1997.0574
  3. Learning and Memory in Bees doi: 1146/annurev.ne.19.030196.002115
  4. Behavioral Neuroscience ISBN: 978-0-87893-092-0
  5. Bees, neonicotinoids, and Dance Behavior Effects doi: 10.1242/jeb.068718
  6. Bees, neonicotinoids, and Foraging Behavior Effects DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.2000.00443.x
  7. Queen and Colony Effects DOI: 10.1126/science.1215025
  8. Colony Collapse meta study DOI: 10.1007/s10646-010-0566-0
  • $\begingroup$ Can you please add DOI or Pubmed links if possible? $\endgroup$
    Feb 4, 2016 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ Sure thing! I'll add the DOI at the end of each citation. $\endgroup$
    – ephackett
    Feb 4, 2016 at 11:55

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