A cocktail of poisons

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Science  30 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6345, pp. 1331-1332
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan6173

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Bees are the main pollinators in most natural and agricultural landscapes (1, 2). With rapid growth in the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, evidence has grown that they can harm bees (3). However, it has been difficult to determine how, and how much, neonicotinoids contribute to recent declines in some bee species. On page 1393 of this issue, Woodcock et al. (4) report that neonicotinoids contribute to local declines of wild bees and honey bees (Apis mellifera). These effects interact with local conditions to create country-specific—and usually negative—outcomes. On page 1395, Tsvetkov et al. (5) show that honey bees are exposed to neonicotinoids for most of the flight season in a corn-growing area of Canada; they fare particularly poorly when exposed to both neonicotinoids and fungicides.