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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Method to Feed Bees (Hymenoptera: Apiformes) Known Amounts of Pesticides

Authors
item Ladurner, Edith - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA
item Bosch, Jordi - UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY
item Maini, Stefano - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA
item KEMP, WILLIAM

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 16, 2003
Publication Date: October 1, 2003
Citation: Ladurner, E., Bosch, J., Maini, S., Kemp, W.P. 2003. A method to feed bees (Hymenoptera: Apiformes) known amounts of pesticides. Apidologie. 34:597-602.

Interpretive Summary: Laboratory studies on the effect of pesticides on bees often omit oral toxicity tests because it is difficult to feed individual bees known amounts of test solutions. Group feeding methods used in Apis mellifera L. (Apidae) studies usually cannot be used with other bees, as most species do not perform food exchange. We devised a simple method (¿flower¿ method) to feed bees individually, and compared its effectiveness with two other methods commonly used (¿film canister¿ and ¿glass vial¿ methods). We tested the three methods on two solitary species, Osmia lignaria and Megachile rotundata, and one social species, A. mellifera, under four different light regimes (natural light, artificial light, plant growth artificial light, and darkness). The flower method was the most effective for all three bee species: 90-95% of the bees fed under natural light, 80-95% under artificial light, 75-100% under plant growth artificial light, and 45-70% in darkness. Percent success was 0-50% with the film canister method, and 0-60% with the glass vial method. By overcoming existing problems with assessing oral toxicity, the flower method may allow more comprehensive future evaluation of pesticide effects on bees.

Technical Abstract: Laboratory studies on the effect of pesticides on bees often omit oral toxicity tests because it is difficult to feed individual bees known amounts of test solutions. Group feeding methods used in Apis mellifera L. (Apidae) studies usually cannot be used with other bees, as most species do not perform trophallaxis. We devised a simple method (¿flower¿ method) to feed bees individually, and compared its effectiveness with two other methods commonly used (¿film canister¿ and ¿glass vial¿ methods). We tested the three methods on two solitary species, Osmia lignaria Say and Megachile rotundata (Fabricius) (Megachilidae), and one social species, A. mellifera, under four different light regimes (natural light, artificial light, plant growth artificial light, and darkness). The flower method was the most effective for all three bee species: 90-95% of the bees fed under natural light, 80-95% under artificial light, 75-100% under plant growth artificial light, and 45-70% in darkness. Percent success was 0-50% with the film canister method, and 0-60% with the glass vial method. By overcoming existing problems with assessing oral toxicity, the flower method may allow more comprehensive future evaluation of pesticide effects on bees.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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