Bibliography Tag: pollinators

Bohnenblust et al., 2016

Bohnenblust, E. W., Vaudo, A. D., Egan, J. F., Mortensen, D. A., & Tooker, J. F.; “Effects of the herbicide dicamba on nontarget plants and pollinator visitation;” Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2016, 35(1), 144-151; DOI: 10.1002/etc.3169.


Nearly 80% of all pesticides applied to row crops are herbicides, and these applications pose potentially significant ecotoxicological risks to nontarget plants and associated pollinators. In response to the widespread occurrence of weed species resistant to glyphosate, biotechnology companies have developed crops resistant to the synthetic-auxin herbicides dicamba and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D); and once commercialized, adoption of these crops is likely to change herbicide-use patterns. Despite current limited use, dicamba and 2,4-D are often responsible for injury to nontarget plants; but effects of these herbicides on insect communities are poorly understood. To understand the influence of dicamba on pollinators, the authors applied several sublethal, drift-level rates of dicamba to alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and Eupatorium perfoliatum L. and evaluated plant flowering and floral visitation by pollinators. The authors found that dicamba doses simulating particle drift (≈1% of the field application rate) delayed onset of flowering and reduced the number of flowers of each plant species; however, plants that did flower produced similar-quality pollen in terms of protein concentrations. Further, plants affected by particle drift rates were visited less often by pollinators. Because plants exposed to sublethal levels of dicamba may produce fewer floral resources and be less frequently visited by pollinators, use of dicamba or other synthetic-auxin herbicides with widespread planting of herbicide-resistant crops will need to be carefully stewarded to prevent potential disturbances of plant and beneficial insect communities in agricultural landscapes. FULL TEXT

Schlappi et al., 2020

Schlappi, D., Kettler, N., Straub, L., Glauser, G., & Neumann, P.; “Long-term effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on ants;” Communications Biology, 2020, 3(1), 335; DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-1066-2.


The widespread prophylactic usage of neonicotinoid insecticides has a clear impact on non-target organisms. However, the possible effects of long-term exposure on soil-dwelling organisms are still poorly understood especially for social insects with long-living queens. Here, we show that effects of chronic exposure to the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam on black garden ant colonies, Lasius niger, become visible before the second overwintering. Queens and workers differed in the residue-ratio of thiamethoxam to its metabolite clothianidin, suggesting that queens may have a superior detoxification system. Even though thiamethoxam did not affect queen mortality, neonicotinoid-exposed colonies showed a reduced number of workers and larvae indicating a trade-off between detoxification and fertility. Since colony size is a key for fitness, our data suggest long-term impacts of neonicotinoids on these organisms. This should be accounted for in future environmental and ecological risk assessments of neonicotinoid applications to prevent irreparable damages to ecosystems. FULL TEXT

Pisa et al., 2015

Pisa, L. W., Amaral-Rogers, V., Belzunces, L. P., Bonmatin, J. M., Downs, C. A., Goulson, D., Kreutzweiser, D. P., Krupke, C., Liess, M., McField, M., Morrissey, C. A., Noome, D. A., Settele, J., Simon-Delso, N., Stark, J. D., Van der Sluijs, J. P., Van Dyck, H., & Wiemers, M.; “Effects of neonicotinoids and fipronil on non-target invertebrates;” Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, 2015, 22(1), 68-102; DOI: 10.1007/s11356-014-3471-x.


We assessed the state of knowledge regarding the effects of large-scale pollution with neonicotinoid insecticides and fipronil on non-target invertebrate species of terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. A large section of the assessment is dedicated to the state of knowledge on sublethal effects on honeybees (Apis mellifera) because this important pollinator is the most studied non-target invertebrate species. Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Lumbricidae (earthworms), Apoidae sensu lato (bumblebees, solitary bees) and the section “other invertebrates” review available studies on the other terrestrial species. The sections on freshwater and marine species are rather short as little is known so far about the impact of neonicotinoid insecticides and fipronil on the diverse invertebrate fauna of these widely exposed habitats. For terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate species, the known effects of neonicotinoid pesticides and fipronil are described ranging from organismal toxicology and behavioural effects to population-level effects. For earthworms, freshwater and marine species, the relation of findings to regulatory risk assessment is described. Neonicotinoid insecticides exhibit very high toxicity to a wide range of invertebrates, particularly insects, and field-realistic exposure is likely to result in both lethal and a broad range of important sublethal impacts. There is a major knowledge gap regarding impacts on the grand majority of invertebrates, many of which perform essential roles enabling healthy ecosystem functioning. The data on the few non-target species on which field tests have been performed are limited by major flaws in the outdated test protocols. Despite large knowledge gaps and uncertainties, enough knowledge exists to conclude that existing levels of pollution with neonicotinoids and fipronil resulting from presently authorized uses frequently exceed the lowest observed adverse effect concentrations and are thus likely to have large-scale and wide ranging negative biological and ecological impacts on a wide range of non-target invertebrates in terrestrial, aquatic, marine and benthic habitats. FULL TEXT