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Keywords:

  • Bombus impatiens;
  • pesticide;
  • toxicity;
  • queen-less micro-colonies;
  • greenhouse

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Bumble bees [Bombus impatiens (Cresson)] are widely used for supplemental pollination of greenhouse vegetables and are at risk of pesticide exposure while foraging. The objective of this study was to determine the lethal and sub-lethal effects of four insecticides (imidacloprid, abamectin, metaflumizone and chlorantraniliprole) and three fungicides (myclobutanil, potassium bicarbonate and cyprodinil + fludioxonil) used or with potential for use in Ontario greenhouse vegetable production to B. impatiens.

RESULTS: Imidacloprid, abamectin, and metaflumizone were harmful to worker bees following direct contact, while chlorantraniliprole and all fungicides tested were harmless. Worker bees fed imidacloprid-contaminated pollen had shortened life spans and were unable to produce brood. Worker bees consumed less pollen contaminated with abamectin. Metaflumizone, chlorantraniliprole and all fungicides tested caused no sub-lethal effects in bumble bee micro-colonies.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that the new reduced risk insecticides metaflumizone and chlorantraniliprole and the fungicides myclobutanil, potassium bicarbonate and cyprodinil + fludioxonil are safe for greenhouse use in the presence of bumble bees. This information can be used preserve greenhouse pollination programs while maintaining acceptable pest management. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry