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Exposure to sublethal concentrations of methoxyfenozide disrupts honey bee colony activity and thermoregulation.

ABSTRACT: Methoxyfenozide is an insect growth regulator (IGR) commonly used in agriculture to simultaneously control pests and preserve beneficial insect populations; however, its impact on honey bees in not fully understood. We conducted field and laboratory experiments to investigate bee health in response to field-relevant concentrations of this pesticide. Significant effects were observed in honey bee colony flight activity and thermoregulation after being exposed over 9 weeks to supplemental protein patty containing methoxyfenozide. Compared to bee colonies in the control group, colonies fed pollen patty with 200 ppb methoxyfenozide (as measured by residue analysis) had: 1) a significantly reduced rate of weight loss due to forager departure in the morning; and 2) higher temperature variability during the winter. Colonies in the 100 ppb (as measured by residue analysis) treatment group had values between the 200 ppb group and control for both response variables. The dusk break point, which is the time associated with the end of forager return, differed among all treatment groups but may have been confounded with direction the hives were facing. Bee colony metrics of adult bee mass and brood surface area, and measurements of bee head weight, newly-emerged bee weight, and hypopharyngeal gland size were not significantly affected by methoxyfenozide exposure, suggesting that there may be significant effects on honey bee colony behavior and health in the field that are difficult to detect using standard methods for assessing bee colonies and individuals. The second experiment was continued into the following spring, using the same treatment groups as in the fall. Fewer differences were observed among groups in the spring than the fall, possibly because of abundant spring forage and consequent reduced treatment patty consumption. Residue analyses showed that: 1) observed methoxyfenozide concentrations in treatment patty were about 18-60% lower than the calculated concentrations; 2) no residues were observed in wax in any treatment; and 3) methoxyfenozide was detected in bee bread only in the 200 ppb treatment group, at about 1-2.5% of the observed patty concentration.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6438536 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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