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Sublethal effects of oxalic acid on Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae): changes in behaviour and longevity

Abstract

Oxalic acid dehydrate (OA) in the application form of trickling (3.5% solution) has shown a good bee tolerance. However, negative long-term effects of the treatment on honeybees are expected. The sublethal effects of OA on division of labour, activity, olfactory learning and the longevity of Apis mellifera were studied. Newly emerged workers were treated with 3.5% OA solution by topical application (dosage 175 μg/bee) and introduced into a colony. Behavioural observations were carried out and the longevity of every worker was recorded. To investigate the learning behaviour, foragers were trained in a classical olfactory conditioning paradigm, the olfactory conditioning of the proboscis extension response. These experiments revealed sublethal effects of OA on Apis mellifera. The treatment caused a significant decrease in worker activity, nursing behaviour and longevity. Treated bees also showed significantly more self-grooming and a higher response in the olfactory conditioning than bees of the control group.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Johannes Felsenberg for his support on the olfactory conditioning experiments. I also thank Mr. Friedrichowitz for his support as an apiculturist with the experimental procedure.

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Correspondence to Eva Rademacher.

Additional information

Effets subléthaux de l’acide oxalique sur Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae): modifications du comportement et de la longévité.

Apis mellifera /acide oxalique/effet subléthal/comportement/longévité

Sublethaleffekte von Oxalsäure auf Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae): Verhaltensänderungen und Lebenserwartung.

Apis mellifera , Oxalsäure, sublethale Effekte, Verhalten, Lebenserwartung

Manuscript editor: Monique Gauthier

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Schneider, S., Eisenhardt, D. & Rademacher, E. Sublethal effects of oxalic acid on Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae): changes in behaviour and longevity. Apidologie 43, 218–225 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-011-0102-0

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Keywords

  • Apis mellifera
  • oxalic acid
  • sublethal effects
  • behaviour
  • longevity