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Abstract

Cypermethrin is highly toxic to the honeybee Apis mellifera ligustica. The action of the chemical is rapid (within 2 days) and it has no long-term effects. The sensitivity of the bees increases with decrease in breeding temperature and with increasing age of the insect. The commercial formulation ‘QCymbush’ is repellent to bees: the effect appears to be due to the formulation ingredients because cypermethrin itself is not repellent. A floral odour lost its natural attractiveness in the presence of ‘Cymbush’. The repellency appears to persist for some 2 days after treatment, during which time the bees learnt to avoid the crop. No residues of cypermethrin were found in the hive products (pollen, wax or honey), nor in the oilseed rape at harvest.