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Journal Articles (Data Paper) Environmental Science and Pollution Research Year : 2022

Pesticide risk assessment: honeybee workers are not all equal regarding the risk posed by exposure to pesticides

Abstract

Toxicological studies in honeybees have long shown that a single pesticide dose or concentration does not necessarily induce a single response. Inter-individual differences in pesticide sensitivity and/or the level of exposure (e.g., ingestion of pesticide-contaminated matrices) may explain this variability in risk posed by a pesticide. Therefore, to better inform pesticide risk assessment for honeybees, we studied the risk posed by pesticides to two behavioral castes, nurse, and forager bees, which are largely represented within colonies and which exhibit large differences in their physiological backgrounds. For that purpose, we determined the sensitivity of nurses and foragers to azoxystrobin (fungicide) and sulfoxaflor (insecticide) upon acute or chronic exposure. Azoxystrobin was found to be weakly toxic to both types of bees. However, foragers were more sensitive to sulfoxaflor than nurses upon acute and chronic exposure. This phenomenon was not explained by better sulfoxaflor metabolization in nurses, but rather by differences in body weight (nurses being 1.6 times heavier than foragers). Foragers consistently consumed more sugar syrup than nurses, and this increased consumption was even more pronounced with pesticide-contaminated syrup (at specific concentrations). Altogether, the stronger susceptibility and exposure of foragers to sulfoxaflor contributed to increases of 2 and tenfold for the acute and chronic risk quotients, respectively, compared to nurses. In conclusion, to increase the safety margin and avoid an underestimation of the risk posed by insecticides to honeybees, we recommend systematically including forager bees in regulatory tests.
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hal-03946395 , version 1 (19-01-2023)

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Pesticide risk assessment: honeybee workers are not all equal regarding the risk posed by exposure to pesticides. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2022, 29 (60), pp.90328 - 90337. ⟨10.1007/s11356-022-21969-2⟩. ⟨hal-03946395⟩

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