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Pesticide residues in honey bees, pollen and beeswax: Assessing beehive exposure

AuthorsCalatayud-Vernich, Pau; Calatayud, Fernando; Simó, Enrique; Picó, Yolanda
KeywordsHoney bees
Hive exposure
Issue DateOct-2018
CitationEnvironmental Pollution 241: 106-114 (2018)
AbstractIn order to study the distribution of pesticide residues in beekeeping matrices, samples of live in-hive worker honey bees (Apis mellifera), fresh stored pollen and beeswax were collected during 2016–2017 from 45 apiaries located in different landscape contexts in Spain. A total of 133 samples were screened for 63 pesticides or their degradation products to estimate the pesticide exposure to honey bee health through the calculation of the hazard quotient (HQ). The influence of the surrounding environment on the content of pesticides in pollen was assessed by comparing the concentrations of pesticide residues found in apiaries from intensive farming landscapes to those found in apiaries located in mountainous, grassland and urban contexts. Beeswax revealed high levels of miticides used in beekeeping such as coumaphos, chlorfenvinphos, fluvalinate and acrinathrin, which were detected in more than 75% of samples. Pollen was predominantly contaminated by miticides but also by insecticides used in agriculture such as chlorpyrifos and acetamiprid, which showed concentrations significantly higher in apiaries located in intensive farming contexts. Pesticides residues were less frequent and at lower concentrations in live honey bees. Beeswax showed the highest average hazard scores (HQ > 5000) to honey bees. Pollen samples contained the largest number of pesticide residues and relevant hazard (HQ > 50) to bees. Acrinathrin was the most important contributor to the hazard quotient scores in wax and pollen samples. The contributions of the pesticides dimethoate and chlorpyrifos to HQ were considered relevant in samples.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.05.062
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