Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments on bumble bee colonies under field conditions - PS2371

Description
A recent publication by Whitehorne et al (2012) reported significant reductions in the number of queens produce by bumble bee colonies (Bombus terrestris Audax) exposed to levels of imidacloprid representative of those in pollen and nectar from oilseed rape grown from treated seed. The reported study exposed developing colonies to treated pollen and sucrose for 2 weeks in the laboratory before they were moved to field sites to continue their development for 6 weeks.
The Whitehorne et al (2012) report stated that the experiment was timed to correspond to wild colony development, and thus colonies were treated in mid-June and placed out in the field on mid-July. However, in the UK the primary flowering of oilseed rape is April/May and therefore this study aims to assess whether the effects reported following a laboratory dosing study are replicated following exposure to flowering oilseed rape in the field.
This study therefore aims to assist CRD in interpreting the relevance of the reported effects on queen production following a laboratory exposure to field exposures.
There are a number of factors which affect the number of queens produced by colonies including the available forage, the foraging activity of the colony and environmental conditions as well as the presence of internal parasites such as Nosema bombi. Therefore these additional factors will be evaluated in this study.
Objective
1. Assessment of exposure of bumble bee colonies in clothianidin and imidacloprid treated oilseed rape
2. Assessment of the effects of exposure on colony development and production of drones and queens
3. Determine whether the effects reported following laboratory exposure of bumble bee colonies to neonicotinoid treated sucrose and pollen are observed following field exposure to a flowering crop grown from neonicotinoid treated oilseed rape
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2013

Cost: £87,428
Contractor / Funded Organisations
F E R A (FERA)
Keywords
Application              
Bee Health              
Ecosystem              
Environment              
Environmental Effects              
Insecticide use              
Pesticide Residues              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety