John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Thiamethoxam: Assessing flight activity of honeybees foraging on treated oilseed rape using RFID technology

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This study was designed to assess homing behaviour of bees foraging on winter oilseed rape grown from seed treated with thiamethoxam (as Cruiser OSR) with one field drilled with thiamethoxam treated seed and two control fields drilled with fungicide‐only treated seed. Twelve honeybee colonies were used per treatment group, 4 each located at the field edge (on‐field site), at approximately 500m (0.5 Km site) and 1000 m (1.0 Km site) from the field. A total of nearly 300 newly‐emerged bees were fitted (tagged) with Mic3 RFID transponders (tags) and introduced into each of the 36 study hives. RFID readers fitted to the entrances of the test colonies were used to monitor the activity of the tagged bees for the duration of 5 week flowering period of the crop. These activity data were analysed to assess any impact on flight activity of bees foraging on the treated compared to untreated crops. Honeybees were seen to be actively foraging within all three treatment groups during the exposure period. The data for the over 3000 RFID tagged bees and over 90,000 foraging flights monitored throughout the exposure phase for the study follow the same trends across the treatment and controls and at each of the three apiary distances, indicating that there were no effects from foraging on the treated crop. Under the conditions of this experiment there was no effect of foraging on thiamethoxam treated oilseed rape on their flight activity or on their ability to return to the hive. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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