Bees And Toxic Chemicals
Bees can suffer serious effects from toxic chemicals in their environments. These include various synthetic chemicals, such as insecticides and fertilizers, as well as a variety of naturally occurring chemicals from plants, such as ethanol resulting from the fermentation of organic material. Bee intoxication can result from exposure to ethanol from fermented nectar, ripe fruits, and manmade and natural chemicals in the environment.
The effects of alcohol on bees are sufficiently similar to the effects of alcohol on humans that honey bees have been used as models of human ethanol intoxication. However, the metabolism of bees and humans is sufficiently different that bees can safely collect nectars from plants that contain compounds toxic to humans. The honey produced by bees from these toxic nectars can be poisonous if consumed by humans. Many humans have eaten toxic honey and become seriously ill as a result.
Natural processes can also introduce toxic substances into nontoxic honey produced from nontoxic nectar. Microorganisms in honey can convert some of the sugars in honey to the toxic compound ethanol. This process of ethanol fermentation is intentionally harnessed to produce the alcoholic beverage called mead from fermented honey.
Read more about Bees And Toxic Chemicals: Toxic Honey
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... Even when honey is not produced from the nectar of toxic plants, it can still ferment to produce ethanol, which is toxic ...
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