John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Wings as a new route of exposure to pesticides in the honey bee

In pesticide risk assessment, the estimation of the routes and levels of exposure is critical. For honey bees, the toxicity of pesticides is assessed by thorax contact to account for all possible contact exposures of bees subjected to a pesticide spray. In this study, we tested 6 different active substances with different hydrophobicity, and for the first time, we demonstrated that it is possible to induce mortality by pesticide contact with only the wings of the honey bee. The toxicities induced by contact with the wings and thorax were similar, with the wing median lethal dose (LD50) being 0.99‐2.23 times higher than that of the thorax, which demonstrates that the wings represent a relevant route of exposure in the honey bee. In a second approach, we estimated the air volume displaced by the wings during one beating cycle to be 0.51 ± 0.03 cm3, which corresponds to a volume of 116.8 ± 5.8 cm3 s‐1 at a wing beat frequency of 230 Hz. Then, we tested realistic scenarios of exposure for a bee flying through a pesticide cloud at different concentrations. In the worst‐case scenario, the dose accumulated during the flight reached 525 ng bee‐1 s‐1. These results show that the procedure used to assess the risk posed by contact with pesticides could be improved by accounting for wing exposure. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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