Comparative analysis of agrochemical-induced oxidative stress in honey bees

Monday, November 11, 2013: 10:36 AM
Meeting Room 19 A (Austin Convention Center)
Jennifer R. Williams , Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Richard D. Fell , Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Troy D. Anderson , Department of Entomology and Fralin Life Science Institute, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colony failure is a problem that demands attention from the apiculture, agriculture, and scientific communities in Virginia.  The decline of honey bee colony numbers in recent years presents an economic and ecological threat to agricultural systems and the services provided by these pollinators.  One outstanding threat to honey bees is the unintended exposure to agrochemicals.  Our previous studies have demonstrated that herbicide exposures affect mitochondrial electron transport and antioxidant activities in beneficial insects and, in turn, elicit oxidative stress responses that compromise the health of these insects.  Here, I will summarize a comparative analysis of oxidative stress responses in honey bees following laboratory- and field-based exposures to current-use herbicides.  These data will be discussed with regard to the potential health effects of agrochemical exposures and the failure of honey bee colonies in Virginia.