Neonicotinoids decrease sucrose responsiveness of honey bees at first contact. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Neonicotinoids decrease sucrose responsiveness of honey bees at first contact.
J Insect Physiol. 2018 May 15 ;108:25-30. Epub 2018 May 15. PMID: 29775568
Fabien J Démares
For two decades, neonicotinoid insecticides have been extensively used worldwide. Targeting neuronal receptors, they have deleterious effects on the behaviour and physiology of many insects. Bees are exposed to these insecticides in pollen and nectar while providing pollination services to agricultural crops, and neonicotinoids have been shown to impair navigation and decrease their foraging activity. We have previously reported the effect of dietary thiamethoxam on sucrose responsiveness of young worker bees. Here, we exposed caged foragers to sublethal acute doses of clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam, then tested them individually for sucrose responsiveness using standard methods. In addition, we tested the response to a range of sucrose solutions laced with neonicotinoids on bees previously unexposed to neonicotinoids. This paradigm mimics the situation where foragers would first encounter poisoned nectars varying in sugar concentration. Bees were exposed to the insecticides in the feeding solution for 24 h before testing, or in the test solutions, or both. The three compounds had a detrimental effect on responses to mid-to-high sucrose concentrations under all experimental conditions, and unexposed bees tested with laced sucrose displayed unexpected low responses to the higher sucrose concentrations tested. This attenuation of sucrose response is further evidence that neonicotinoids are multisensory disruptors, with potent actions against pollinators and other beneficial insects at first contact.