Intra-specific variation in sensitivity of Bombus terrestris and Osmia bicornis to three pesticides

Alberto Linguadoca, Margret Jürison, Sara Hellström, Ed Straw, Peter Sima, Reet Karise, Cecilia Costa, Giorgia Serra, Roberto Colombo, Robert J. Paxton, Marika Mänd, Mark J F Brown

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There is growing evidence that pesticides may be among the causes of worldwide bee declines, which has resulted in repeated calls for their increased scrutiny in regulatory assessments. One recurring concern is that the current frameworks may be biased towards assessing risks to the honey bee. This paradigm requires extrapolating toxicity information across bee species. Most research effort has therefore focused on quantifying differences in sensitivity across species. However, our understanding of how responses to pesticides may vary within a species is still very poor. Here we take the first steps towards filling this knowledge gap by comparing acute, lethal hazards in sexes and castes
of the eusocial bee Bombus terrestris and in sexes of the solitary bee Osmia bicornis after oral and contact exposure to the pesticides sulfoxaflor, Amistar (azoxystrobin) and glyphosate. We show that sensitivity towards pesticides varies significantly both within and across species. Bee weight was a meaningful predictor of pesticide susceptibility. However, weight could not fully explain the observed differences, which suggests the existence of unexplored mechanisms regulating pesticide sensitivity across bee sexes and castes. Our data show that intra‐specific responses are an overlooked yet important aspect of the risk assessment of pesticides in bees.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17311
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2022

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