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Field-level exposure of bumble bees to fungicides applied to a commercial cherry orchard

April 22, 2021

Bumble bees, Bombus spp. (Apidae), are important native pollinators; however, populations of some species are declining in North America and agricultural chemicals are a potential cause. Fungicides are generally not highly toxic to bees, but little is known about sublethal or synergistic effects. This study evaluates bumble bee exposure to fungicides by quantifying concentrations of boscalid and pyraclostrobin in nectar and pollen collected by colonies of Bombus huntii Greene, 1860 (Hunt bumble bee) deployed in a commercial cherry Prunus avium L. orchard in the spring of 2016. Seven colonies were placed adjacent to an orchard block that was sprayed with a fungicide mixture of boscalid and pyraclostrobin and a control group of seven colonies was placed next to an unsprayed block of orchard 400 m away from the treated block. Nectar and pollen were collected daily, beginning 1 d before spray application and continuing for a total of 12 d, and analyzed for both fungicides. Fungicide concentrations varied spatially by colony and temporally by day. The highest concentrations in nectar occurred 1 and 3 d after spraying: up to 440 ng/g boscalid and 240 ng/g pyraclostrobin. Six days after application, pollen from cherry flowers contained the highest concentrations of the fungicides: up to 60,500 ng/g boscalid and 32,000 ng/g pyraclostrobin. These data can help to determine field-level fungicide concentrations in nectar and pollen and direct future work on understanding the effects of these compounds, including their interactions with important bumble bee pathogenic and beneficial symbionts.

Publication Year 2021
Title Field-level exposure of bumble bees to fungicides applied to a commercial cherry orchard
DOI 10.1093/jee/toab051
Authors Kathryn M. Kuivila, Houston Judd, Michelle Hladik, James P. Strange
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Economic Entomology
Index ID 70221507
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Oregon Water Science Center