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The bumblebee population is declining, but researchers from the U.S. say there may be a health remedy that could save them.

New research shows tobacco plants may help dying bumblebees stay healthy


Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Sunday, March 15, 2015, 3:44 PM -

Tobacco may not have a great reputation among humans, but scientists say it could be a health remedy for dying bumblebees.

A study published in the Royal Society’s flagship biological research journal, Proceedings B, found that flowers of tobacco contain naturally occurring chemicals that can reduce the infection levels of a common bumblebee parasite by more than 80 per cent, The Independent reports.

A tobacco field. Image courtesy of Creative Commons.

A tobacco field. Image courtesy of Creative Commons.

According to The Independent, researchers from Dartmouth College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst studied parasite infections in bumblebees. Insects that consumed a diet of anabasine, the alkaloid in tree tobacco, were "more likely" to be parasite-free after one week.


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The bumblebee's depleting population is cause for worry. Along with the honeybee, the bumblebee is a vital pollinator in global crops. Their gradual disappearance gravely impacts the growth of fruits, vegetables, and other crops that make up a large portion of the world's food supply.

SOURCES: The Independent

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