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Insects. 2019 Jan 8;10(1). pii: E21. doi: 10.3390/insects10010021.

Larval Pollen Stress Increases Adult Susceptibility to Clothianidin in Honey Bees.

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Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
USDA-ARS, Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Laboratory, Baton Rouge, LA 70820, USA.
Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.


Neonicotinoid insecticides have come under scrutiny for their potential role in honey bee declines. Additionally, reduced access to forage in agricultural areas creates the potential for risk interactions with these pesticides in regions critical for honey production. In this study, we sought to determine whether sufficient access to pollen during larval development could mitigate stress associated with oral clothianidin exposure in honey bee adults. An apiary was established where pollen traps deprived half of the colonies of pollen, which was then supplemented to the others. Adults were fed 0, 10, 40, 200, or 400 µg/L clothianidin in the laboratory, and larval and adult lipids and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities were compared between feeding treatments. Survival at sublethal concentrations of clothianidin was significantly reduced for adult bees reared in pollen deprived colonies. Adult SOD activity was affected by clothianidin dose but not larval feeding treatment, though within the pollen-deprived cohort, SOD was greater in controls than those fed clothianidin. Larval SOD differed between field replicates, with supplemented colonies having slightly higher activity levels during a period of pollen dearth, indicating that supplementation during these periods is particularly important for mitigating oxidative stress within the hive. Larval lipids were significantly higher in supplemented colonies during a substantial pollen flow, though adult lipids were unaffected by feeding treatment. These results suggest that during periods of pollen dearth, oxidative stress and adult worker longevity will be improved by supplementing colonies with locally collected pollen.


Apis mellifera; neonicotinoid; nutrition; sublethal effects; superoxide dismutase

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