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J Econ Entomol. 2008 Dec;101(6):1743-8.

Abnormal foraging behavior induced by sublethal dosage of imidacloprid in the honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae).

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Department of Entomology, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan.


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 microg/liter. When bees were treated with an imidacloprid concentration higher than 1,200 microg/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.

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