Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid pesticide has no adverse effect on bumblebees

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

In recent years, many pollinators have declined in abundance and diversity worldwide, presenting a potential threat to agricultural productivity, biodiversity and the functioning of natural ecosystems. One of the most debated factors proposed to be contributing to pollinator declines is exposure to pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, a widely used class of systemic insecticide. Also, newly emerging parasites and diseases, thought to be spread via contact with managed honeybees, may pose threats to other pollinators such as bumblebees. Compared to honeybees, bumblebees could be particularly vulnerable to the effects of stressors due to their smaller and more short-lived colonies. Here, we studied the effect of field-realistic, chronic clothianidin exposure and inoculation with the parasite Nosema ceranae on survival, fecundity, sugar water collection and learning using queenless Bombus terrestris audax microcolonies in the laboratory. Chronic exposure to 1 ppb clothianidin had no significant effects on the traits studied. Interestingly, pesticide exposure in combination with additional stress caused by harnessing bees for Proboscis Extension Response (PER) learning assays, led to an increase in mortality. In contrast to previous findings, the bees did not become infected by N. ceranae after experimental inoculation with the parasite spores, suggesting variability in host resistance or parasite virulence. However, this treatment induced a slight, short-term reduction in sugar water collection, potentially through stimulation of the immune system of the bees. Our results suggest that chronic exposure to 1 ppb clothianidin does not have adverse effects on bumblebee fecundity or learning ability.

Related article:  Allergic to all known chemicals?

Read full, original post: No effect of low-level chronic neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebee learning and fecundity

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend