John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Fipronil promotes motor and behavioral changes in honey bees (Apis mellifera) and affects the development of colonies exposed to sublethal doses

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Bees play a crucial role in pollination and generate honey and other hive products; therefore, their worldwide decline is cause for concern. New broad‐spectrum systemic insecticides like fipronil can harm bees, and their use has been discussed as a potential threat to bees' survival. In the present study, the authors evaluated the in vitro toxicity of fipronil and noted behavioral and motor activity changes in Africanized adult Apis mellifera that had ingested or contacted lethal or sublethal doses of fipronil. The effects of sublethal doses on brood viability, population growth, behavior, and expression of the defensin 1 gene in adult bees were studied in colonies fed with contaminated sugar syrup (8 μg fipronil L‐1). Fipronil was highly toxic when it was ingested or contacted, triggering agitation, seizures, tremors, and paralysis. Bees that had been exposed to a lethal or sublethal dose showed reduced motor activity. The numbers of eggs that hatched, the area occupied by worker eggs, and the numbers of larvae and pupae that developed were reduced; adult bees showed lethargy; and colonies were abandoned when they were exposed to sublethal doses. There was no change in the bees' expression of defensin 1. The authors concluded that fipronil is highly toxic to honey bees and even sublethal doses may negatively affect the development and maintenance of colonies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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