Coumaphos Distribution in the Hive Ecosystem: Case Study for Modeling Applications
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Pesticides are currently used inside hives, against the honeybee parasite Varroa destructor, producing unwanted contamination effects. To assess the distribution and fate of one of these pesticides (coumaphos), two experimental hives were treated with Perizin (the commercial product containing the active ingredient coumaphos). Samples of honey, wax, pollen, adult bees and larvae taken before treatment and up to 104 days afterwards, showed diffuse contamination. Wood hedges and wax bridges, where the pesticide solution was applied, were analysed as well. A mass balance was calculated, yielding a recovered amount of around 60% just after treatment and 38% 1 month later. Directly contaminated surfaces and wax contained the highest amount of residues. Wax and honey contained different amounts (10, and 0.1% respectively) but both retained residues for long time. Bees ingest most of the product just after treatment, then rapidly eliminate it by metabolism, advection and deposition processes. On the basis of analytical results, a simple model (level I of the fugacity model) was applied to the hive system for different pesticides (coumaphos, malathion, fluvalinate and bromopropylate). Predicted concentrations in wax and honey were compared with those measured, indicating the good predictive capability of this approach.
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