High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries

Implications for Honey Bee Health

Christopher Albert Mullin, Maryann Frazier, James L. Frazier, Sara Ashcraft, Roger Simonds, Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Jeffery S. Pettis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

606 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Recent declines in honey bees for crop pollination threaten fruit, nut, vegetable and seed production in the United States. A broad survey of pesticide residues was conducted on samples from migratory and other beekeepers across 23 states, one Canadian province and several agricultural cropping systems during the 2007-08 growing seasons. Methodology/Principal Findings: We have used LC/MS-MS and GC/MS to analyze bees and hive matrices for pesticide residues utilizing a modified QuEChERS method. We have found 121 different pesticides and metabolites within 887 wax, pollen, bee and associated hive samples. Almost 60% of the 259 wax and 350 pollen samples contained at least one systemic pesticide, and over 47% had both in-hive acaricides fluvalinate and coumaphos, and chlorothalonil, a widely-used fungicide. In bee pollen were found chlorothalonil at levels up to 99 ppm and the insecticides aldicarb, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos and imidacloprid, fungicides boscalid, captan and myclobutanil, and herbicide pendimethalin at 1 ppm levels. Almost all comb and foundation wax samples (98%) were contaminated with up to 204 and 94 ppm, respectively, of fluvalinate and coumaphos, and lower amounts of amitraz degradates and chlorothalonil, with an average of 6 pesticide detections per sample and a high of 39. There were fewer pesticides found in adults and brood except for those linked with bee kills by permethrin (20 ppm) and fipronil (3.1 ppm). Conclusions/Significance: The 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 ppm in bee pollen alone represents a remarkably high level for toxicants in the brood and adult food of this primary pollinator. This represents over half of the maximum individual pesticide incidences ever reported for apiaries. While exposure to many of these neurotoxicants elicits acute and sublethal reductions in honey bee fitness, the effects of these materials in combinations and their direct association with CCD or declining bee health remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere9754
JournalPLoS One
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

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Agrochemicals
apiaries
tetrachloroisophthalonitrile
Honey
Bees
acaricides
agrochemicals
Pesticides
honey bees
pesticides
Health
chlorothalonil
Waxes
Coumaphos
Pollen
waxes
fluvalinate
coumaphos
Fungicides
Pesticide Residues

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Mullin, C. A., Frazier, M., Frazier, J. L., Ashcraft, S., Simonds, R., vanEngelsdorp, D., & Pettis, J. S. (2010). High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health. PLoS One, 5(3), [e9754]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009754
Mullin, Christopher Albert ; Frazier, Maryann ; Frazier, James L. ; Ashcraft, Sara ; Simonds, Roger ; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis ; Pettis, Jeffery S. / High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries : Implications for Honey Bee Health. In: PLoS One. 2010 ; Vol. 5, No. 3.
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Mullin, CA, Frazier, M, Frazier, JL, Ashcraft, S, Simonds, R, vanEngelsdorp, D & Pettis, JS 2010, 'High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health', PLoS One, vol. 5, no. 3, e9754. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009754

High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries : Implications for Honey Bee Health. / Mullin, Christopher Albert; Frazier, Maryann; Frazier, James L.; Ashcraft, Sara; Simonds, Roger; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis; Pettis, Jeffery S.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 5, No. 3, e9754, 01.12.2010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Mullin CA, Frazier M, Frazier JL, Ashcraft S, Simonds R, vanEngelsdorp D et al. High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health. PLoS One. 2010 Dec 1;5(3). e9754. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009754