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Pollinator Peril – Research Highlights

March 20, 2014

Two years ago I made poster for our educational bee event called Keeping our Bees Alive – The Challenges.  At that time we knew that the neonicotinoid insecticides were likely a big problem, but we had a hard time figuring out why sometimes the bees seemed to tolerate the pesticides and other times bee colonies with a modest exposure could collapse.  The multi-factor nature of the problem was apparent, and is illustrated in that poster.

This year I concentrated on what we have learned in the last two years that can help us solve the colony collapse puzzle.  This year, Pollinator Peril – Reserach Highlights presented research that shows how the neonicotinoids interact syynergiysticly with common bee pathogens, making the bees much more suseptible to natural diseases.  This research goes a long way to explaining why there can be such a variable response to neonicotinoid exposure, since it is usually the pathogens that kill the bees in colony collapse, not the neonicotinoids directly, and the pathogens need to be present as well as the insecticide for devestating losses.

The poster can be viewed here: Pollinator Peril – Reserach Highlights

Live links to the original research and referenced papers are provided below.

1.Aufauvre J, Biron DG, Vidau C, Fontbonne R, Roudel M, et al. (2012)  Parasite-insecticide interactions: a case study of Nosema ceranae and fipronil synergy on honeybee. Sci. Rep. 2: 326.
2.Cornman RS, Tarpy DR, Chen Y, Jeffreys L, Lopez D, et al. (2012) Pathogen Webs in Collapsing Honey Bee Colonies. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43562. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043562
3.Di Prisco G, Cavaliere V, Annoscia D, Varricchio P, Caprio E, et al. (2013) Neonicotinoid clothianidin adversely affects insect immunity and promotes replication of a viral pathogen in honeybees PNAS2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1314923110
4.EFSA. 2013.Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment for bees for the active substance imidacloprid . EFSA J 11:3068.
5.Feltham H, Park K, and Goulson, D. (2014)  Field realistic doses of pesticide imidacloprid reduce bumblebee pollen foraging efficiency.  Ecotoxicology   doi: 10.1007/s10646-014-1189-7
6.Gill RJ, Ramos-Rodriguez O, Raine NE (2012) Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees. Nature 491: 105-108.
7.Krupke CH, Hunt GJ, Eitzer BD, Andino G, Given K (2012) Multiple Routes of Pesticide Exposure for Honey Bees Living Near Agricultural Fields. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29268. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029268
8.New York Times, March 29, 2013.  Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms.
9.New York Times, January 29, 2014.  Migration of Monarch Butterflies Shrinks Again Under Inhospitable Conditions.
10.Pettis JS, Lichtenberg EM, Andree M, Stitzinger J, Rose R, et al. (2013) Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae. PLoS ONE 8(7): e70182. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070182
11.Rondeau G.  (2013) Time-dependent toxicity of imidacloprid on bees and ants.
12.Tennekes HA, Sánchez-Bayo F. (2013) The molecular basis of simple relationships between exposure concentration and toxic effects with time. Toxicology 309:39-51.
13.White, G. The problem with pesticides: it’s the birds and the bees.  The Beekeepers Quarterly 111 March 2013
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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 3, 2014 7:41 am

    Thanks so much for posting this, Gary. This is a great presentation that also gives an overview of pesticide classes that help us understand not only what is happening to bees, but what we are doing to our environment on a larger scale.

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