Honey is nature’s sweetest gift. But did you know that honey may contain pesticides? Farmers use pesticides to kill pests that harm their crops. But pesticides also hurt honey bees and other beneficial insects. Furthermore, when bees collect nectar from flowers which received pesticide treatments, these chemicals make their way into the honey. In the past, scientists found neonicotinoids (a class of pesticides) in about half of the honey samples collected in the United Kingdom.
Since 2014, the European Union banned neonicotinoids in flowering crops that bees visit. We wanted to know how effective this policy was. Does the UK honey still contain neonicotinoids? Here, we collected and tested honey samples from beekeepers across the UK. We found that about a fifth of all honey contained neonicotinoids. These chemicals are not at dangerous levels for human health but may harm the bees in the long run.