Acute toxicity of the insecticide abamectin and the fungicide difenoconazole (individually and in mixture) to the tropical stingless bee Melipona scutellaris

Janete Brigante, Joyce Oliveira Costa, Evaldo L. G. Espíndola, Michiel A. Daam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Stingless bees have been recognized as essential plant pollinators and producers of various natural products in neotropical areas. Research into the potential risks of pesticides they may be exposed to in agricultural fields, however, remains meagre. Especially the toxicity of pesticide mixtures likely to occur under real-world conditions and that are likely to exert synergetic effects has been poorly studied. The aim of the present study was therefore to evaluate the single and mixture acute contact and oral toxicity of commercial products containing the insecticide abamectin and the fungicide difenoconazole in laboratory bioassays with the Brazilian native stingless bee Melipona scutellaris. In addition, a comparison of the insecticide sensitivity of stingless bees relative to the honeybee Apis mellifera was made based on previously published toxicity data. Except for oral exposure to abamectin, M. scutellaris appeared to be more sensitive that A. mellifera in the single compound toxicity tests. A difenoconazole concentration at the NOEC (no observed effect concentration) level indicated a synergetic toxic interaction with abamectin. A sensitivity comparison based on published toxicity data for A. mellifera and stingless bees indicated several insecticidal modes of action having a high relative sensitivity to stingless bees that need especial consideration in future studies. The research findings highlight the need for testing native bee species and environmentally relevant pesticide mixtures in risk assessments to avoid underestimation of potential risks to bee populations and the subsequent loss of pollination ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcotoxicology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Mixture toxicity
  • Pesticides
  • Stingless bees
  • Terrestrial ecotoxicology
  • Tropics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Acute toxicity of the insecticide abamectin and the fungicide difenoconazole (individually and in mixture) to the tropical stingless bee Melipona scutellaris'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this