Navigation Links
Combined pesticide exposure affects bumblebee colony success
Date:10/25/2012

Individual worker behaviour and colony success are both affected when bees are exposed to a combination of pesticides, according to research conducted by Dr Richard Gill and Dr Nigel Raine at Royal Holloway, University of London.

This research, published in Nature, investigated social bumblebee colonies which rely on the collective performance of numerous individual worker bees. It showed that chronic exposure to two commonly-used pesticides (a neonicotinoid and a pyrethroid), at concentrations approximating field-level exposure, impaired natural foraging behaviour and increased worker mortality. This led to significant reductions in colony success, and increased rates of colony failure.

Bees are typically exposed to numerous pesticides when collecting pollen and nectar from crops, and this is the first study to examine the potential effects of exposure to a combination of pesticides under realistic field conditions.

While recent studies have investigated the role of pesticides on either individual bee behaviours, or the impact on whole colonies, how changes to individual behaviour could have knock-on effects for the colony has not previously been shown.

Dr Raine said: "There is an urgent need to understand the reasons behind current bee declines as they are essential pollinators of many agricultural crops and wild flowers. We rely on these insects to produce most of the food we eat and maintain the landscapes we enjoy".

"Previous studies investigating the possible role of pesticides in current bee declines have focused on honeybees, but it is also crucial that we understand how pesticides affect other bee species," added Dr Gill.

This study mimicked realistic scenarios in which 40 early stage bumblebee colonies received four-week exposure to two pesticides that are frequently encountered when foraging on flowering crops: the neonicotinoid 'Imidacloprid' and the pyrethroid 'lambda-cyhalothrin'.

Imidacloprid was provided in a sucrose solution at levels that could be found in nectar and lambda-cyhalothrin was administered following label guidance for field spray applications. Bees were able to forage in the field providing a realistic behavioural setting, and the foraging behaviour of individual workers was recorded using radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging technology.

The researchers found that bees exposed to imidacloprid were less able to forage effectively, particularly when it came to collecting pollen. This meant treated colonies had less food available to them, so could not raise as many new workers. On average, the percentage of workers leaving the colony and then getting lost was 55% higher in those receiving imidacloprid than those that were not exposed to pesticides. The results of this study also indicate that combinatorial exposure to pesticides increases the tendency of bee colonies to fail.

Dr Gill commented that: "The novelty of this study is that we show how the sublethal effects of pesticide exposure affects individual bee behaviour with serious knock-on consequences for the performance of the colony as a whole".

Dr Raine added: "Policymakers need to consider the evidence and work together with regulatory bodies to minimize the risk to all bees caused by pesticides, not just honeybees. Currently pesticide usage is approved based on tests looking at single pesticides. However, our evidence shows that the risk of exposure to multiple pesticides needs to be considered, as this can seriously affect colony success".


'/>"/>
Contact: Rob Dawson
rob@dawsonuk.com
07-557-487-865
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Neural stem cell transplants for spinal cord injury maximized by combined, complimentary therapies
2. Effect of chronic exposure to chemicals used as weapons, pesticides under study
3. Commonly used pesticide turns honey bees into picky eaters
4. Air in expectant moms homes contains pesticides, border study finds
5. Reproductive health providers should discuss environmental exposure risks with patients
6. Exposure to antibiotics linked to severity of allergic asthma: UBC research
7. Lower dosage CT-guided lung biopsy protocol maintains quality, minimizes exposure
8. Obese patients face higher radiation exposure from CT scans -- but new technology can help
9. Prenatal exposure to air pollution linked to childhood obesity
10. NOAA discovers way to detect low-level exposure to seafood toxin in marine animals
11. Socioeconomics may affect toddlers exposure to flame retardants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/6/2017)... -- According to Acuity Market Intelligence, ongoing concerns ... continue to embrace biometric and digital identification based ... Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 Automated Passport Control ... ports of entry across the globe. Deployments increased ... CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks reached 75% growth ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... 2017 A new independent identity strategy consultancy ... (IdSP) . Designed to fill a critical niche in ... founding partners Mark Crego and Janice ... in identity expertise that span federal governments, the 9/11 ... Crego-Kephart combined expertise has a common theme born from ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2, 2017  EyeLock LLC, a market leader of ... paper " What You Should Know About Biometrics in ... user authenticity is a growing concern. In traditional schemes, ... However, traditional authentication schemes such as username/password suffer from ... authentication offers an elegant solution to the problem of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... David Nolte, PhD accepted Purdue University’s 2016 ... Research Park of West Lafayette, Indiana. , The top commercialization award is ... success with, commercializing discoveries from Purdue research. “This award is truly an honor. ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... FRANCISCO , Feb. 23, 2017   ViaCyte, ... Type 1, a not-for-profit advocacy and education group for ... grant from Beyond Type 1 to support ViaCyte,s efforts ... other insulin-requiring diabetes.  For more than ... cell replacement therapies with a focus on the treatment ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... 2017  PrimeVax Immuno-Oncology, Inc. announced today its CEO, ... Annual Biocom Global Life Science Partnering Conference.  The presentation ... at the Torrey Pines Lodge, in San Diego.  ... Biocom who have chosen our company, amongst numerous others, ... investors, and clinical researchers," said Mr. Chen. "In contrast ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational and interactive virtual events ... the launch of a new scholarship for young scientists seeking a degree in any ... open to all high school seniors, 17 years or older; as well as those ...
Breaking Biology Technology: