The Effects of the Insect Growth Regulators Methoxyfenozide and Pyriproxyfen and the Acaricide Bifenazate on Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Forager Survival
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The honey bee (Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae)) contributes an essential role in the U.S. economy by pollinating major agricultural crops including almond, which depends entirely on honey bee pollination for successful nut set. Almond orchards are often treated with pesticides to control a variety of pests and pathogens, particularly during bloom. While the effects to honey bee health of some insecticides, particularly neonicotinoids, have received attention recently, the impact of other types of insecticides on honey bee health is less clear. In this study, we examined the effects to honey bee forager survival of three non-neonicotinoid pesticides widely used during the 2014 California almond bloom. We collected foragers from a local apiary and exposed them to three pesticides at the label dose, or at doses ranging from 0.5 to 3 times the label dose rate. The selected pesticides included the insect growth regulators methoxyfenozide and pyriproxyfen, and the acaricide bifenazate. We simulated field exposure of honey bees to these pesticides during aerial application in almond orchards by using a wind tunnel and atomizer set up with a wind speed of 2.9 m/s. Experimental groups consisting of 30-40 foragers each were exposed to either untreated controls or pesticide-laden treatments and were monitored every 24 hr over a 10-d period. Our results revealed a significant negative effect of all pesticides tested on forager survival. Therefore, we suggest increased caution in the application of these pesticides in almond orchards or any agricultural crop during bloom to avoid colony health problems.
author list (cited authors)
Fisher, A., Colman, C., Hoffmann, C., Fritz, B., & Rangel, J.