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Impact of Thiamethoxam on Honey Bee Queen (Apis mellifera carnica) Reproductive Morphology and Physiology

Abstract

High honey bee losses around the world have been linked in part by the regular use of neonicotinoids in agriculture. In light of the current situation, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of thiamethoxam on the development of the reproductive system and physiology in the honey bee queen. Two experimental groups of honey bee queen larvae were treated with thiamethoxam during artificial rearing, applied via artificial feed in two cycles. In the first rearing cycle, honey bee larvae received a single treatment dose (4.28 ng thiamethoxam/queen larva on the 4th day after larvae grafting in artificial queen cells), while the second honey bee queen rearing cycle received a double treatment dose (total of 8.56 ng thiamethoxam/queen larva on the 4th and 5th day after larvae grafting in artificial queen cells). After emerging, queens were anesthetized and weighed, and after mating with drones were anesthetized, weighed, and sectioned. Ovary mass and number of stored sperm were determined. Body weight differed between untreated and treated honey bee queens. The results also show a decrease in the number of sperm within honey bee queen spermathecae that received the double thiamethoxam dose.

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Acknowledgements

The study was supported by the Erasmus Placement exchange student Program 2013/2014; as well as financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency, Research Programme P4-133 and FP7 Project CropSustaIn grant agreement FP7 – REGPOT – CT2012-316205.

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Correspondence to Ivana Tlak Gajger.

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Gajger, I.T., Sakač, M. & Gregorc, A. Impact of Thiamethoxam on Honey Bee Queen (Apis mellifera carnica) Reproductive Morphology and Physiology. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 99, 297–302 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-017-2144-0

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Keywords

  • Thiamethoxam
  • Honey bee queen
  • Ovaries
  • Spermathecae-stored sperm
  • Artificial queen rearing