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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 8;9(1):e77547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077547. eCollection 2014.

Four common pesticides, their mixtures and a formulation solvent in the hive environment have high oral toxicity to honey bee larvae.

Author information

1
Department of Entomology, Center for Pollinator Research, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
2
Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States of America.

Abstract

Recently, the widespread distribution of pesticides detected in the hive has raised serious concerns about pesticide exposure on honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) health. A larval rearing method was adapted to assess the chronic oral toxicity to honey bee larvae of the four most common pesticides detected in pollen and wax--fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorothalonil, and chloropyrifos--tested alone and in all combinations. All pesticides at hive-residue levels triggered a significant increase in larval mortality compared to untreated larvae by over two fold, with a strong increase after 3 days of exposure. Among these four pesticides, honey bee larvae were most sensitive to chlorothalonil compared to adults. Synergistic toxicity was observed in the binary mixture of chlorothalonil with fluvalinate at the concentrations of 34 mg/L and 3 mg/L, respectively; whereas, when diluted by 10 fold, the interaction switched to antagonism. Chlorothalonil at 34 mg/L was also found to synergize the miticide coumaphos at 8 mg/L. The addition of coumaphos significantly reduced the toxicity of the fluvalinate and chlorothalonil mixture, the only significant non-additive effect in all tested ternary mixtures. We also tested the common 'inert' ingredient N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone at seven concentrations, and documented its high toxicity to larval bees. We have shown that chronic dietary exposure to a fungicide, pesticide mixtures, and a formulation solvent have the potential to impact honey bee populations, and warrants further investigation. We suggest that pesticide mixtures in pollen be evaluated by adding their toxicities together, until complete data on interactions can be accumulated.

PMID:
24416121
PMCID:
PMC3885384
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0077547
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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