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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Aerial Application Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334828

Research Project: Aerial Application Technology for Sustainable Crop Production

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: The synergistic effects of almond protection fungicides on honey bee (Apis mellifera) forager survival

Author
item Fisher, Adrian - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
item Coleman, Chet - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
item Hoffmann, Wesley
item Fritz, Bradley - Brad
item Rangel, Juliana - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/4/2017
Publication Date: 3/21/2017
Citation: Fisher, A., Coleman, C., Hoffmann, W.C., Fritz, B.K., Rangel, J. 2017. The synergistic effects of almond protection fungicides on honey bee (Apis mellifera) forager survival. Journal of Economic Entomology. 110(3):802-808.

Interpretive Summary: The honey bee (Apis mellifera) contributes approximately $17 billion annually in pollination services performed for major agricultural crops in the United States including almond, which is completely dependent on honey bee pollination for nut set. To assess the effects of some of the top fungicides used during the 2012 California almond bloom on honey bee forager mortality, honey bee foragers were collected and exposed to fungicides, alone and in various combinations, at the label dose, or a range of dose variants (from 0.25 to 2 times the label dose). The results showed a significant decrease in forager survival resulting from exposure to one of the fungicides, as well as a synergistic detrimental effects of certain combinations of fungicides Pristine® and Quadris® on forager survival.

Technical Abstract: The honey bee (Apis mellifera) contributes approximately $17 billion annually in pollination services performed for major agricultural crops in the United States including almond, which is completely dependent on honey bee pollination for nut set. Almond growers face challenges to crop productivity due to several pests and pathogens, which are often controlled with a multitude of agro-chemicals. For instance, fungicides are often applied in combination with other products to control fungal pathogens during almond bloom. However, the effects of fungicides on honey bee health have been understudied so far. To assess the effects of some of the top fungicides used during the 2012 California almond bloom on honey bee forager mortality, we collected honey bee foragers from a local apiary and exposed them to fungicides, alone and in various combinations, at the label dose, or a range of dose variants (from 0.25 to 2 times the label dose). These included iprodione, Pristine® and Quadris®. We utilized a wind tunnel and atomizer set up with a wind speed of 2.9 m/s to simulate field-relevant exposure of honey bees to these fungicides during aerial application in almond fields. Groups of 40-50 foragers exposed to either untreated controls or fungicide-laden treatments were monitored daily over a ten-day period. Our results showed a significant decrease in forager survival resulting from exposure to the fungicide iprodione, as well as synergistic detrimental effects of iprodione in combination with the fungicides Pristine® and Quadris® on forager survival.