Apis mellifera; Neonicotinoid; PER; Pesticide; Proboscis extension conditioning
Learning and memory play a central role in the behavior and communication of foraging bees. We have previously shown that chronic uptake of the neonicotinoid thiacloprid affects the behavior of honey bees in the field. Foraging behavior, homing success, navigation performance and social communication were impaired. Thiacloprid collected at a feeding site at low doses accumulates in foragers over time. Here, we applied a laboratory standard procedure (the proboscis-extension response conditioning) in order to assess which processes, acquisition, memory consolidation and/or memory retrieval were compromised after bees were fed either with thiacloprid or the formulation of thiacloprid named Calypso® at different sublethal doses. Extinction and generalization tests allowed us to investigate whether bees respond to a learned stimulus, and how selectively. We showed that thiacloprid, as active substance and as formulation, poses a substantial risk to honey bees by disrupting learning and memory functions. These data support and specify the data collected in the field.
© 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Journal of experimental biology 220(20): 3695-3705. Link