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Environmental Monitoring: The effects of pesticides on the social organization of the bee colony

Bee feeder

Bee feeder

Karèn Haink (PhD project)

We expose a whole colony to small amounts of pesticides (neonicotinoids) that are transported into the hive by a group of bees. These bees are individually identified by number tags, and their foraging flights to a feeder are monitored. In the last experiment we used a sucrose solution contaminated with 6 mg/l Thiacloprid. Each bee transports 180 ng Thiacloprid in each foraging flight into the colony. We estimated (and then measured) the amount of Thiacloprid metabolized by the foraging bee. The effect of pesticide load on the social organization of the whole colony is measured by the electrostatic fields emanating from the communication signals bees produce by the movement of their electrostatically charged body.