The Synergistic Effects of Almond Protection Fungicides on Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Forager Survival
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The honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) contributes ∼$17 billion annually to the United States economy, primarily by pollinating major agricultural crops including almond, which is completely dependent on honey bee pollination for nut set. Almond growers face constant challenges to crop productivity owing to pests and pathogens, which are often controlled with a multitude of agrochemicals. For example, fungicides are often applied in combination with other products to control fungal pathogens during almond bloom. However, the effects of fungicides on honey bee health have been so far understudied. To assess the effects of some of the top fungicides used during the 2012 California almond bloom on honey bee forager mortality, we collected foragers from a local apiary and exposed them to fungicides (alone and in various combinations) at the label dose, or at doses ranging from 0.25 to 2 times the label dose rate. These fungicides were Iprodione 2SE Select, Pristine, and Quadris. We utilized a wind tunnel and atomizer set up with a wind speed of 2.9 m/s to simulate field-relevant exposure of honey bees to these agrochemicals during aerial application in almond fields. Groups of 40-50 foragers exposed to either untreated controls or fungicide-laden treatments were monitored daily over a 10-d period. Our results showed a significant decrease in forager survival resulting from exposure to simulated tank mixes of Iprodione 2SE Select, as well as synergistic detrimental effects of Iprodione 2SE Select in combination with Pristine and Quadris on forager survival.
author list (cited authors)
Fisher, A., Coleman, C., Hoffmann, C., Fritz, B., & Rangel, J.