Bees brought home 35 types of insecticides and fungicides after foraging in almond, apple, blueberry, cranberry, cucumber, pumpkin, and watermelon fields.
Bees that were exposed to the chemical cocktail didn't necessarily die immediately, but instead became less resistant to a deadly single-celled parasite, called Nosema ceranae. In addition to the agricultural chemicals in pollen, a mite-killing chemical used to control a pest that attacks the bees also made the honeybees more susceptible to Nosema.
The pollen-poisoned bees were working bugs. Farmers pay beekeepers to bring honey bees to their farms, up to $150 for 10 days in an almond orchard, according to the Charlotte Observer. As Nosema and colony collapse disorder wipe out more bees, the cost for honey bees' pollination services increases.
However, much of the pollen the bees brought back to the hives from blueberry, cranberry, cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon fields actually came from wildflowers and weeds growing around the fields. The only crops that actually received the bees' attention were almonds and apples.