Whole-body acute contact toxicity of formulated insecticide mixtures to blue orchard bees (Osmia lignaria)

Joseph Belsky, David J. Biddinger, Neelendra K. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Blue orchard bees, [Osmia lignaria (Say) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)], have been developed as an important pollinator for orchard crops in North America over the last 40 years. The toxicity of several pesticides to O. lignaria and other Osmia species has been previously reported. However, the field-realistic toxicity of formulated premix insecticides comprised of multiple active ingredients (each with a different mode of action) to O. lignaria has not been assessed. Here, we use a customized spray tower in a laboratory setting to assess adult male and female whole-body direct contact exposure to four formulated pesticide mixtures: thiamethoxam + lambda-cyhalothrin (TLC), imidacloprid + beta-cyfluthrin (IBC), chlorantraniliprole + lambda-cyhalothrin (CLC) and methoxyfenozide + spinetoram (MS) by directly spraying anesthetized bees in Petri dishes. Sepa-rately, adult male and female whole-body direct contact exposure to formulated imidacloprid (I), beta-cyfluthrin (BC) and their 1:1 binary combination (IBC) was assessed using the same experimental method. Resulting mortality in each study was screened up to 96 h post-treatment to determine acute whole-body contact toxicity. In the first study, TLC and IBC resulted in statistically higher mortality at 24 and 48 h than the two other insecticide combinations tested. The CLC and MS combinations were slower acting and the highest mortality for O. lignaria exposed to these mixtures was recorded at 96 h. We did observe significant differences in toxicity between CLC and MS. In the second study, exposure to the 1:1 binary combination of IBC caused overall significantly higher mortality than exposure to I or BC alone. Both active ingredients alone, however, demonstrated equivalent levels of mortality to the 1:1 binary combination treatment at the 96 h observation reading, indicating increased speed of kill, but not necessarily increased toxicity. Significant differences in the onset of mortality following acute contact whole-body exposure to the formulated insecticide mixtures and individual active ingredients tested were consistently observed across all experiments in both studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number61
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Chemical Health and Safety
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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