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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #143557


item Pettis, Jeffery
item Collins, Anita
item Feldlaufer, Mark

Submitted to: Apidologie
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2004
Publication Date: 2/26/2004
Citation: Pettis, J.S., Collins, A.M., Wilbanks, R., Feldlaufer, M.F. 2004. Effects of coumaphos on queen rearing in the honey bee, apis mellifera l. Apidologie. 35:605-610

Interpretive Summary: The honey bee is an important beneficial insect and beekeepers use the chemical coumaphos to protect honey bees from a destructive parasitic mite. However, the increased use of chemicals to control mites has coincided with increased beekeeper complaints of problems associated with maintaining productive queens in honey bee colonies. Research was conducted to determine the effects of this chemical by incorporating coumaphos into wax used for queen rearing. Results indicated that queens were adversely affected (less emergence and lower weight) when exposed to high levels of coumaphos. This information will be valuable to members of the beekeeping industry that breed queens and are interested in producing superior queens.

Technical Abstract: The worldwide use of acaricides in honey bee colonies to control Varroa destructor has increased. One result of acaricide use is the accumulation of these compounds in beeswax with the potential for lethal or sublethal effects on individuals within the colony. Here we describe experiments to determine the effects of known concentrations of coumaphos in beeswax queen cups on queens reared within those cups. We tested wax cups that contained either no coumaphos (controls) or 1, 10, 100, 300, 600 and 1000 ppm of coumaphos. Young worker larvae were transferred into the queen cups, placed in queenless colonies and then examined ten days later to determine the rate of rejection or acceptance as indicated by a mature sealed queen cell. All cells were rejected at the highest dose, 1000ppm, and greater than 50% of the queen cells were rejected at the 100ppm dose. Additionally, the surviving queens in the 100ppm treatment were significantly lighter than control queens at 206±6.4 versus 230±6.6mg (mean±SEM) respectively. The implications of exposure of developing queens to sublethal amounts of pesticide are discussed.