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Effects of Hydroxymethylfurfural in High Fructose Corn Syrup on Honeybee Health Público Deposited

Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is a compound that forms from the dehydration of fructose in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in many processed foods and drinks. While the consumption of HMF is not known to be harmful to humans, many studies have found that it raises serious health concerns for honeybees. In the late summer months through the fall, foraging honeybees supplement the loss of nutrients from flowering plants with other sugary sources. In urban areas, such as the George Washington University campus, the sugary supplements come from soda cans and other sugary garbage found in trash cans. In this study, I fed caged honeybees a sucrose solution (control), Gatorade, and Mountain Dew (drinks with varying levels of HFCS) to find out how harmful HMF formed from HFCS was to their health. After conducting three separate trials, I analyzed the results to find that there was a significant difference in the death rate between the control cages (sucrose solution) and the Mountain Dew cages in each trial. Just as expected, honeybees fed Mountain Dew had the highest death rate, followed by Gatorade. The control had the longest survival time. Caffeine was ruled out as a possible variable in death rate due to the fact that Gatorade doesn’t contain caffeine. In this paper I will address nor only the statistical evidence for difference in their death rates, but also certain behaviors exhibited by the honeybees.

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