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Delayed effects of a single dose of a neurotoxic pesticide (sulfoxaflor) on honeybee foraging activity
Science of the Total Environment  (IF7.963),  Pub Date : 2021-09-16, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150351
Lena Barascou, Fabrice Requier, Deborah Sené, Didier Crauser, Yves Le Conte, Cedric Alaux

Pesticide risk-assessment guidelines for honeybees (Apis mellifera) generally require determining the acute toxicity of a chemical over the short-term through fix-duration tests. However, potential long-lasting or delayed effects resulting from an acute exposure (e.g. a single dose) are often overlooked, although the modification of a developmental process may have life-long consequences. To investigate this question, we exposed young honeybee workers to a single sublethal field-realistic dose of a neurotoxic pesticide, sulfoxaflor, at one of two amounts (16 or 60 ng), at the moment when they initiated orientation flights (preceding foraging activity). We then tracked in the field their flight activity and lifespan with automated life-long monitoring devices. Both amounts of sulfoxaflor administered reduced the total number of flights but did not affect bee survival and flight duration. When looking at the time series of flight activity, effects were not immediate but delayed until foraging activity with a decrease in the daily number of foraging flights and consequently in their total number (24 and 33% less for the 16 and 60 ng doses, respectively). The results of our study therefore blur the general assumption in honeybee toxicology that acute exposure results in immediate and rapid effects and call for long-term recording and/or time-to-effect measurements, even upon exposure to a single dose of pesticide.