Toxicity and Poisoning Symptoms of selected Insecticides to Honey Bees (Apis mellifera mellifera L.)

Vrushali Vijaykumar Pashte, Chidanand Shivshankar Patil


Bees are potential pollinators of wide variety of crops. The European dark bee, Apis mellifera mellifera (L.) is widely used for crop pollination. However, pesticide usage in modern agriculture has threatened the plant-bee pollinator interaction. There is lack of data regarding lethal time, insecticide concentration and poisoning symptoms, especially for formulated insecticides that are widely used in insect management. This study shows that the intrinsic toxicity of insecticides (LC50) to A. mellifera mellifera (L.) was in the following order: imidacloprid (0.0070) > fipronil (0.0125) > indoxacarb (0.0266)> cypermethrin (0.0370) > dimethoate (0.0385). The lethal time (LT50) values (h) in the ascending order of toxicity of insecticides were as follows: fipronil (6.56), cypermethrin (6.69), dimethoate (8.00), imidacloprid (9.85) and indoxacarb (13.45). Distinct poisoning symptoms observed in A. mellifera mellifera were extended proboscis, expanded wings, unhooked wings, extended legs and twisted bodies, defecation on cage covers, sting in release-out position and anus with excreta. All the tested pesticides are harmful to the honey bee except azadirachtin. The tested pesticides exhibited different poisoning symptoms in bees, which could be useful for beekeepers in identifying the cause of colony mortality. In conclusion, the pesticide toxicological research on bees is an important safety aspect for beneficial organisms. This study reveals a realistic acute toxicity in the field of commonly used insecticides. The information is important for insecticide selection in order to minimize direct killing of foraging honey bees while maintaining effective management of crop pests.

Received:January 31, 2017; Revised:April 26, 2017; Accepted: May 16, 2017; Published online: June 12, 2017

How to cite this article: Pashte VV, Patil CS. Toxicity and poisoning symptoms of selected insecticides to honey bees (Apis mellifera mellifera L.). Arch Biol Sci. 2018;70(1):5-12.


bioassay; intrinsic toxicity; LC50; time mortality; Apis mellifera mellifera L.

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