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      Assessing Insecticide Hazard to Bumble Bees Foraging on Flowering Weeds in Treated Lawns

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          Abstract

          Maintaining bee-friendly habitats in cities and suburbs can help conserve the vital pollination services of declining bee populations. Despite label precautions not to apply them to blooming plants, neonicotinoids and other residual systemic insecticides may be applied for preventive control of lawn insect pests when spring-flowering weeds are present. Dietary exposure to neonicotinoids adversely affects bees, but the extent of hazard from field usage is controversial. We exposed colonies of the bumble bee Bombus impatiens to turf with blooming white clover that had been treated with clothianidin, a neonicotinoid, or with chlorantraniliprole, the first anthranilic diamide labeled for use on lawns. The sprays were applied at label rate and lightly irrigated. After residues had dried, colonies were confined to forage for six days, and then moved to a non-treated rural site to openly forage and develop. Colonies exposed to clothianidin-treated weedy turf had delayed weight gain and produced no new queens whereas those exposed to chlorantraniliprole-treated plots developed normally compared with controls. Neither bumble bees nor honey bees avoided foraging on treated white clover in open plots. Nectar from clover blooms directly contaminated by spray residues contained 171±44 ppb clothianidin. Notably, neither insecticide adversely impacted bee colonies confined on the treated turf after it had been mown to remove clover blooms present at the time of treatment, and new blooms had formed. Our results validate EPA label precautionary statements not to apply neonicotinoids to blooming nectar-producing plants if bees may visit the treatment area. Whatever systemic hazard through lawn weeds they may pose appears transitory, however, and direct hazard can be mitigated by adhering to label precautions, or if blooms inadvertently are contaminated, by mowing to remove them. Chlorantraniliprole usage on lawns appears non-hazardous to bumble bees.

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          Most cited references17

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          Decline and conservation of bumble bees.

          Declines in bumble bee species in the past 60 years are well documented in Europe, where they are driven primarily by habitat loss and declines in floral abundance and diversity resulting from agricultural intensification. Impacts of habitat degradation and fragmentation are likely to be compounded by the social nature of bumble bees and their largely monogamous breeding system, which renders their effective population size low. Hence, populations are susceptible to stochastic extinction events and inbreeding. In North America, catastrophic declines of some bumble bee species since the 1990s are probably attributable to the accidental introduction of a nonnative parasite from Europe, a result of global trade in domesticated bumble bee colonies used for pollination of greenhouse crops. Given the importance of bumble bees as pollinators of crops and wildflowers, steps must be taken to prevent further declines. Suggested measures include tight regulation of commercial bumble bee use and targeted use of environmentally comparable schemes to enhance floristic diversity in agricultural landscapes.
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            Selective toxicity of neonicotinoids attributable to specificity of insect and mammalian nicotinic receptors.

            Neonicotinoids, the most important new class of synthetic insecticides of the past three decades, are used to control sucking insects both on plants and on companion animals. Imidacloprid (the principal example), nitenpyram, acetamiprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, and others act as agonists at the insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). The botanical insecticide nicotine acts at the same target without the neonicotinoid level of effectiveness or safety. Fundamental differences between the nAChRs of insects and mammals confer remarkable selectivity for the neonicotinoids. Whereas ionized nicotine binds at an anionic subsite in the mammalian nAChR, the negatively tipped ("magic" nitro or cyano) neonicotinoids interact with a proposed unique subsite consisting of cationic amino acid residue(s) in the insect nAChR. Knowledge reviewed here of the functional architecture and molecular aspects of the insect and mammalian nAChRs and their neonicotinoid-binding site lays the foundation for continued development and use of this new class of safe and effective insecticides.
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              A meta-analysis of experiments testing the effects of a neonicotinoid insecticide (imidacloprid) on honey bees.

              Honey bees provide important pollination services to crops and wild plants. The agricultural use of systemic insecticides, such as neonicotinoids, may harm bees through their presence in pollen and nectar, which bees consume. Many studies have tested the effects on honey bees of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, but a clear picture of the risk it poses to bees has not previously emerged, because investigations are methodologically varied and inconsistent in outcome. In a meta-analysis of fourteen published studies of the effects of imidacloprid on honey bees under laboratory and semi-field conditions that comprised measurements on 7073 adult individuals and 36 colonies, fitted dose-response relationships estimate that trace dietary imidacloprid at field-realistic levels in nectar will have no lethal effects, but will reduce expected performance in honey bees by between 6 and 20%. Statistical power analysis showed that published field trials that have reported no effects on honey bees from neonicotinoids were incapable of detecting these predicted sublethal effects with conventionally accepted levels of certainty. These findings raise renewed concern about the impact on honey bees of dietary imidacloprid, but because questions remain over the environmental relevance of predominantly laboratory-based results, I identify targets for research and provide procedural recommendations for future studies.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2013
                12 June 2013
                : 8
                : 6
                : e66375
                Affiliations
                [1]Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America
                Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: JL CR DP. Performed the experiments: JL CR DP. Analyzed the data: JL DP. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: JL CR DP. Wrote the paper: JL DP.

                Article
                PONE-D-12-37308
                10.1371/journal.pone.0066375
                3680470
                23776667
                187b105a-d43f-4956-8789-59b0d121ffe0
                Copyright @ 2013

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 27 November 2012
                : 5 May 2013
                Page count
                Pages: 7
                Funding
                This work was supported by the University of Kentucky's B.C. Pass Research Professorship and Graduate Assistantship. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Agriculture
                Agrochemicals
                Pesticides
                Pest Control
                Pesticides
                Sustainable Agriculture
                Biology
                Ecology
                Ecological Metrics
                Population Size
                Urban Ecology
                Population Biology
                Population Metrics
                Population Growth
                Population Size
                Zoology
                Entomology

                Uncategorized
                Uncategorized

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