Determination of Acute Oral Toxicity of Flumethrin in Honey Bees

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Flumethrin is one of many pesticides used for the control and treatment of varroatosis in honey bees and for the control of mosquitoes and ticks in the environment. For the control of varroatosis, flumethrin is applied to hives formulated as a plastic strip for several weeks. During this time, honey bees are treated topically with flumethrin, and hive products may accumulate the pesticide. Honey bees may indirectly ingest flumethrin through hygienic behaviors during the application period and receive low doses of flumethrin through comb wax remodeling after the application period. The goal of our study was to determine the acute oral toxicity of flumethrin and observe the acute effects on motor coordination in honey bees (Apis mellifera anatoliaca). Six doses (between 0.125 and 4.000 μg per bee) in a geometric series were studied. The acute oral LD50 of flumethrin was determined to be 0.527 and 0.178 μg per bee (n = 210, 95% CI) for 24 and 48 h, respectively. Orally administered flumethrin is highly toxic to honey bees. Oral flumethrin disrupted the motor coordination of honey bees. Honey bees that ingested flumethrin exhibited convulsions in the antennae, legs, and wings at low doses. At higher doses, partial and total paralysis in the antennae, legs, wings, proboscises, bodies, and twitches in the antennae and legs were observed.

Keywords: Apis mellifera anatoliaca; acute toxicity; flumethrin; oral

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2012

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