Herbicide-Induced Oxidative Stress in Honey Bees

Monday, March 14, 2016: 10:30 AM
Hannover Ballroom III (Sheraton Raleigh Hotel)
Jennifer R. Williams , Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Richard D. Fell , Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Carlyle C. Brewster , Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Troy Anderson , Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) decline is a nationally-recognized problem that demands attention from both the scientific community and beekeeping industry.  The decline of bee colony numbers in recent years presents an economic and ecological threat to agricultural systems and the pollination services provided by bees.  One outstanding threat to bees is the unintended exposure of these pollinators to agricultural pesticides.  Our previous studies report that acute exposures to current-use agricultural herbicides, such as atrazine, affect mitochondrial electron transport and antioxidant activities thereby eliciting oxidative stress in non-target insects.  This project will examine the possible link between agricultural herbicide exposures and an increase in oxidative stress in honey bees in both field- and laboratory-based experiments.  Changes in oxidative stress responses such as total antioxidants, gluthathione, glutathione-S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase, lipid peroxidase, and antioxidant gene expression patterns of bees treated with atrazine will be assessed.  The information gathered in this study will be translated into utilizable management practices for both pesticide applicators and beekeepers and the current steps in field-colony treatments will be discussed.
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