Abnormal Foraging Behavior Induced by Sublethal Dosage of Imidacloprid in the Honey Bee

E. C. Yang, Y. C. Chuang, Y. L. Chen, and L. H. Chang

Although sublethal dosages of insecticide to nontarget insects have never been an important issue, they are attracting more and more attention lately. It has been demonstrated that low dosages of the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid may affect honey bee, Apis mellifera L., behavior. In this article, the foraging behavior of the honey bee workers was investigated to show the effects of imidacloprid. By measuring the time interval between two visits at the same feeding site, we found that the normal foraging interval of honey bee workers was within 300 s. However, these honey bee workers delayed their return visit for >300 s when they were treated orally with sugar water containing imidacloprid. This time delay in their return visit is concentration-dependent, and the lowest effective concentration was found to be 50 μg/liter. When bees were treated with an imidacloprid concentration higher than 1,200 μg/liter, they showed abnormalities in revisiting the feeding site. Some of them went missing, and some were present again at the feeding site the next day. Returning bees also showed delay in their return trips. Our results demonstrated that sublethal dosages of imidacloprid were able to affect foraging behavior of honey bees.

Figure 4: The ratio of missing bees after feeding on 50% sugar water containing different concentrations of imidacloprid.

Uitleg in het Nederlands: Het plaatje laat zien hoeveel procent van de bijen in het experiment van Yang na het snoepen van suikerwater met imidacloprid hun eigen volk niet meer terug konden vinden, althans, niet meer bij de kast terugkeerden. Hoe meer imidacloprid in het suikerwater werd gedaan (hoe verder naar rechts in het plaatje) hoe hoger het percentage bijen dat de weg naar de korf niet meer terug kon vinden, althans er niet meer aankwam.

Bron: Journal of Economic Entomology 101(6):1743-1748. 2008, doi: 10.1603/0022-0493-101.6.1743