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The effect of Pristine fungicide on honey bee (Apis mellifera) taste and responsiveness to sucrose

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Honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies have experienced substantial losses due to colony collapse disorder (CCD) since the first officially reported cases in 2006. Many factors have been implicated in CCD,

Honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies have experienced substantial losses due to colony collapse disorder (CCD) since the first officially reported cases in 2006. Many factors have been implicated in CCD, including pests, pathogens, malnutrition, and pesticide use, but no correlation has been found between a single factor and the occurrence of CCD. Fungicides have received less research attention compared to insecticides, despite the fact that fungicide application coincides with bloom and the presence of bees. Pristine fungicide is widely used in agriculture and is commonly found as a residue in hives. Several studies have concluded that Pristine can be used without harming bees, but reports of brood loss following Pristine application continue to surface across the country. The primary objectives of this study were to determine whether Pristine causes an aversive gustatory response in bees and whether consumption of an acute dose affects responsiveness to sucrose. An awareness of how foragers interact with contaminated food is useful to understand the likelihood that Pristine is ingested and how that may affect bees' ability to evaluate floral resources. Our results indicated that Pristine has no significant effect on gustatory response or sucrose responsiveness. There was no significant difference between bee responses to Pristine contaminated sucrose and sucrose alone, and no significant effect of Pristine on sucrose responsiveness. These results indicate that honey bees do not have a gustatory aversion to Pristine. A lack of aversion means that honey bees will continue collecting contaminated resources and dispersing them throughout the colony where it can affect brood and clean food stores.

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  • 2015-05