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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #427104

Research Project: Chemical Analyses of Honey Bees and Bee-Related Experimental Samples

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21000-290-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2014
End Date: Jul 31, 2019

Honey bees are exposed, both orally and topically, to a suite of different pesticides. Chemical exposure is hypothesized to have a significant impact on honey bee metabolic physiology. Acute exposure to high doses of pesticides can cause direct mortality, but chronic exposure to sub lethal doses is hypothesized to have more subtle effects on bee physiology, and a delayed impact on colony fitness. Over time these subtle effects can lead to colony collapse. The Objectives of this project are to 1) provide proof of concept for experimental protocols; 2) confirm pesticide content of prepared foods and treated cage substrates used in experiments; and 3) quantify post-experimental pesticide residues in honey bees and bee-related samples.

Laboratory cage and semi-field experiments will be conducted to investigate sub lethal exposure to pesticides on honey bee metabolic physiology. To replicate oral and contact exposure to pesticides, foods and surfaces of laboratory bee cages will be treated with different pesticides across a range of sub-lethal concentrations. Although calculations are made to assure the appropriate concentrations are achieved, errors introduced during food preparation and cage surface coating procedures may result in actual concentrations differing somewhat from those calculated. Therefore, it is important that actual values of pesticide concentrations are determined for accurate reporting of methods, and correct interpretation of results.