Toxic house; pesticide exposure and impacts on honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies used for commercial pollination

Sunday, November 16, 2014: 10:10 AM
Portland Ballroom 256 (Oregon Convention Center)
Maryann Frazier , Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
James Frazier , Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Chris Mullin , Department of Entomology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations in the US and Europe are in decline due to multiple factors. Pesticides are under increasing scrutiny for their potential role in the declining health of managed honey bee populations particularly those used for crop pollination.  We have analyzed over 1200 samples of pollen, wax, and bees and flowers and have found 129 different compounds in nearly all chemical classes, include organophosphates, pyrethroids, carbamates, neonicotinoids, chlorinated cyclodienes, organochlorines, insect growth regulators, fungicides, herbicides, and synergists and other formulation components, with an average of 6.7 chemicals  in pollen samples.  Migratory beekeepers who use their bees to pollinate multiple crops have the highest pesticide residues, and we have conducted controlled feeding studies on honey bee colonies, to ascertain the impacts of insecticides and herbicides, fungicides, treated wax comb, and combinations of these using formulated materials at the levels found in migratory colonies.  Multiple impacts on the first generation of brood reared on treated diets were evident and the resulting adult bees were likewise compromised.  Results will be discussed with the aid of a new population dynamics model for honey bee colonies to project over time the impacts of these pesticide stressors.