, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 637–646 | Cite as

Plant guttation water as a potential route for pesticide exposure in honey bees: a review of recent literature

  • Amelie SchmolkeEmail author
  • Brian Kearns
  • Bridget O’Neill
Review article


Because honey bees periodically collect water, guttation water from treated crops has been suggested as a potential exposure route to systemic pesticides. We reviewed studies that were published in the scientific literature since a previous review of the topic. We identified several studies that reported residue levels of pesticides in guttation water. However, few studies addressed guttation water as a potential exposure route to honey bees. In these studies, no significant effects on honey bee colony health or overwintering survival were observed when colonies were located within fields of treated crops during guttation periods. The previous and current review suggests that exposure to pesticides via guttation water alone is unlikely to negatively affect honey bee colonies. A better understanding of water foraging by honey bees would be needed to address whether guttation water could represent a relevant exposure route of honey bees to systemic pesticides.


guttation honey bees pesticide risk assessment neonicotinoids 



We want to thank Gregg Hancock, members of the Pollinator Research Task Force and a reviewer for comments on a previous version of the manuscript, and Jennifer Jackson for manuscript formatting.

Authors’ contribution

AS and BO developed the review goals; AS and BK contributed equally to the literature review and manuscript preparation; all authors contributed to read and approved the final version.


Funding for the work on this review and the preparation of the manuscript was provided by the Pollinator Research Task Force (PRTF).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the work on the review was funded by the Pollinator Research Task Force (PRTF), an industry interest group of crop protection companies.


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Waterborne Environmental Inc.LeesburgUSA
  2. 2.DuPont Crop ProtectionWilmingtonUSA

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