Ecology: Bumblebees and pesticides

  title={Ecology: Bumblebees and pesticides},
  author={Juliet L. Osborne},
  • J. Osborne
  • Published 1 November 2012
  • Biology, Environmental Science
  • Nature
A study showing the effects of two pesticides on bumblebees highlights the need for risk assessments to consider multiple species and the complex chain of factors that determines insect exposure to chemicals. See Letter p.105 Exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides is known to influence bee behaviour, and could be a key factor in current bee declines. It has not been possible to establish a mechanistic link between individual and colony effects, but this study demonstrates a direct link between… 
Chronic impairment of bumblebee natural foraging behaviour induced by sublethal pesticide exposure
This is the first study to provide data on the impacts of combined and individual pesticide exposure on the temporal dynamics of foraging behaviour in the field over a prolonged period of time and shows that neonicotinoid exposure has both acute and chronic effects on overall foraging activity.
Influence of combined pesticide and parasite exposure on bumblebee colony traits in the laboratory
It is reiterated that dietary exposure to neonicotinoids can impact on bumblebee colony performance and fitness and stringently incorporating chronic and sublethal side effects of pesticides, as well as interactions with common natural stressors, such as prevalent parasites, should be considered in the corresponding test guidelines.
Investigating the impacts of field‐realistic exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide on bumblebee foraging, homing ability and colony growth
It is shown that field‐realistic neonicotinoid exposure can have impacts on both foraging ability and homing success of bumblebees, with implications for the success of Bumblebee colonies in agricultural landscapes and their ability to deliver crucial pollination services.
Pesticide Residues and Bees – A Risk Assessment
Risks appear to be low, but analysis indicates that residues of pyrethroid and neonicotinoid insecticides pose the highest risk by contact exposure of bees with contaminated pollen, and the synergism of ergosterol inhibiting fungicides with those two classes of insecticides results in much higher risks in spite of the low prevalence of their combined residues.
Sublethal exposure to neonicotinoids and related side effects on insect pollinators: honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees
It is shown that the lowest observed effect concentration under realistic field conditions in the most cases is higher than under laboratory conditions, which indicates that further long-term field research is required with consideration that good understanding of the pollinators’ responses to sublethal exposure should be taken into account in the future experimental design in order to establish vigorous conclusions.
Ecological relevance in honeybee pesticide risk assessment: developing context-dependent scenarios to manage uncertainty
The overestimation issue raised by Guez has already been addressed before and with an even greater magnitude of uncertainty, and the need to properly hierarchize uncertainties using conventional ecological scaling approaches and investigate context-dependent exposure scenarios is further underline.
Consequences of a short time exposure to a sublethal dose of Flupyradifurone (Sivanto) pesticide early in life on survival and immunity in the honeybee (Apis mellifera)
It is concluded that short episodes of sublethal pesticide exposures during development are sufficient to trigger effects later in life and could therefore contribute to the widespread declines in bee health.
Contamination of the Aquatic Environment with Neonicotinoids and its Implication for Ecosystems
The widespread use of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides in agriculture results first in contamination of the soil of the treated crops, and secondly in the transfer of residues to the aquatic
BEEHAVE: a systems model of honeybee colony dynamics and foraging to explore multifactorial causes of colony failure
A honeybee model is developed, BEEHAVE, which integrates colony dynamics, population dynamics of the varroa mite, epidemiology ofvarroa‐transmitted viruses and allows foragers in an agent‐based foraging model to collect food from a representation of a spatially explicit landscape.
Side effects of imidacloprid, ethion, and hexaflumuron on adult and larvae of honey bee Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera, Apidae)
Results indicate that imidacloprid and ethion disrupt the physiology of honey bees, thereby reducing the efficiency of this beneficial pollinator and it is important to investigate the sub-lethal effects of pesticides on larval development.


Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees
It is found that worker foraging performance, particularly pollen collecting efficiency, was significantly reduced with observed knock-on effects for forager recruitment, worker losses and overall worker productivity, and evidence that combinatorial exposure to pesticides increases the propensity of colonies to fail.
Neonicotinoid Pesticide Reduces Bumble Bee Colony Growth and Queen Production
Given the scale of use of neonicotinoid insecticides, it is suggested that they may be having a considerable negative impact on wild bumble bee populations across the developed world.
Neonicotinoids in bees: a review on concentrations, side-effects and risk assessment
The proposed risk assessment scheme for systemic compounds was shown to be applicable to assess the risk for side-effects of neonicotinoids as it considers the effect on different life stages and different levels of biological organization (organism versus colony).
Scientific Opinion on the science behind the development of a risk assessment of Plant Protection Products on bees (Apis mellifera, Bombus spp. and solitary bees)
The PPR Panel was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on the science behind the development of a risk assessment of plant protection products on bees and proposals for separate risk assessment schemes, one for honey bees and one for bumble bees and solitary bees, were developed.
EFSA Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR); EFSA Scientific Opinion on the science behind the revision of the guidance document on dermal absorption
The PPR Panel concludes that assessment of dermal absorption in the absence of specific studies can be performed based on default values that the Panel derived from the analysis of the available databases and indicates some additional requirements to adapt existing OECD test guidelines to the special requirements of PPPs and their formulations.
Response to Comment on “A Common Pesticide Decreases Foraging Success and Survival in Honey Bees”
An elegant way to improve honey bee colony simulations when forecasting the fate of colonies exposed to pesticides is suggested and the adjusted forecast is bleaker than their tentative scenario.
Interaction between pesticides and other factors in effects on bees
There is no clear evidence from field-based studies that exposure of colonies to pesticides results in increased susceptibility to disease or that there is a link between colony loss due to disease and pesticide residues in monitoring studies.
A Common Pesticide Decreases Foraging Success and Survival in Honey Bees
Simulated exposure events on free-ranging foragers labeled with a radio-frequency identification tag suggest that homing is impaired by thiamethoxam intoxication, which offers new insights into the consequences of common neonicotinoid pesticides used worldwide.