Assessing the acute toxicity of insecticides to the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris audax)

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Reid, R. J., Troczka, B. J., Kor, L., Randall, E., Williamson, M. S., Field, L. M., Nauen, R., Bass, C. and Davies, T. G. E. 2020. Assessing the acute toxicity of insecticides to the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris audax) . Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology. 166, p. 104562.

AuthorsReid, R. J., Troczka, B. J., Kor, L., Randall, E., Williamson, M. S., Field, L. M., Nauen, R., Bass, C. and Davies, T. G. E.
Abstract

The buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris audax is an important pollinator within both landscape ecosystems and agricultural crops. During their lifetime bumblebees are regularly challenged by various environmental stressors including insecticides. Historically the honey bee (Apis mellifera spp.) has been used as an ‘indicator’ species for ‘standard’ ecotoxicological testing, but it has been suggested that it is not always a good proxy for other eusocial or solitary bees. To investigate this, the susceptibility of B. terrestris to selected pesticides within the neonicotinoid, pyrethroid and organophosphate classes was examined using acute insecticide bioassays. Acute oral and topical LD50 values for B. terrestris against these insecticides were broadly consistent with published results for A. mellifera. For the neonicotinoids, imidacloprid was highly toxic, but thiacloprid and acetamiprid were practically non-toxic. For pyrethroids, deltamethrin was highly toxic, but tau-fluvalinate only slightly toxic. For the organophosphates, chlorpyrifos was highly toxic, but coumaphos practically non-toxic. Bioassays using insecticides with common synergists enhanced the sensitivity of B. terrestris to several insecticides, suggesting detoxification enzymes may provide a level of protection against these compounds.

The sensitivity of B. terrestris to compounds within three different insecticide classes is similar to that reported for honey bees, with marked variation in sensitivity to different insecticides within the same insecticide class observed in both species. This finding highlights the need to consider each compound within an insecticide class in isolation rather than extrapolating between different insecticides in the same class or sharing the same mode of action.

KeywordsBumblebee ; Neonicotinoids; Pyrethroids; Organophosphates; Differential toxicity
Year of Publication2020
JournalPesticide Biochemistry and Physiology
Journal citation166, p. 104562
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.pestbp.2020.104562
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048357520300572
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBayer Crop Science
European Research Council
BBSRC Industrial Strategy Challenge
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online06 Mar 2020
Print01 Jun 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted01 Mar 2020
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0048-3575

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