Do agrochemicals used during soybean flowering affect the visits of Apis mellifera L.?

Guillermina A. Fagúndez, Diego C. Blettler, Carlos G. Krumrick, Mariana A. Bertos, Cecilia G. Trujillo


In the Pampa region of Argentina, most beehives are situated near to soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] crop and honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) use its floral resources. Soybean is often sprayed with pesticides but very little is known about their repellent action against bees. This study evaluates the visit of honey bees to crop after the application of agrochemicals aiming to check for repellency of them and estimate the possible impact on crop pollination. For this, six treatments were used (glyphosate + cypermethrin; glyphosate; cypermethrin; lambda-cyhalothrin; methoxyfenocide; Bacillus thuringiensis) and developed on plots of 625 m2, located in Oro Verde (Argentina), applying two sprays during the crop flowering. The bees were captured using entomological net every 4 days in three different times from the day after the first spraying and up the end of crop flowering. The results showed very little or no repellent action of pesticides on A. mellifera, noting that it foraged on soybean flowers regardless of the temporal proximity and the type of product used in sprays. Possible causes are discussed and the need for larger studies is evident in field conditions related to pesticides repellency and mixtures. Also, further evaluation of the effects of the different chemical formulations available on the market and used regionally where the subspecies A. mellifera can be found. Simultaneously some management practices that could help minimize the risk of contamination are mentioned; the use of defensive crop products of biological origin is encouraged as well as further research in this topic.


honeybee; Glycine max; pesticides; repellent effect; foraging

Full Text:



Aizen MA, Garibaldi LA, Dondo M, 2009. Expansión de la soja y diversidad de la agricultura argentina. Ecología Austral 19: 45-54.

Altieri MA, 1999. The ecological of biodiversity in agroecosystems. Agr Ecosyst Environ 74: 19- 31.

Aragón JA, Molinari R, Lorenzatti S. 1998. Manejo integrado de plagas de soja. In: El cultivo de soja en la Argentina; Giorda L, Baigorri H (eds). pp: 247-288. INTA.

Basilio AM, Fernández CA, Passalia M, Romero E, 2002. Caracterización del contenido polínico de las mieles de la localidad de Junín (provincia de Buenos Aires) a lo largo de la temporada de producción, y durante la maduración. RIA 31 (3): 119-136.

Borrell E, Vandame R, 2012. Pecoreo de abejas Apis mellifera en flores de soya Glycine max. Informe técnico. Departamento de Agricultura, Sociedad y Ambiente, México.

Bortolotti L, Montanari R, Marcelino J, Medrzychi P, Maini S, Porrini C, 2003. Effects of sub-lethal imidacloprid doses on the homing rate and foraging activity of the honey bees. Bull Insectol 56: 63-67.

Burgett M, Shorney S, Codara J, Gardiol G, Sheppard W, 1995. The present status of the africanized honey bees in Uruguay. Am Bee J 135: 328-330.

Caccavari MA, Fagúndez GA, 2010. Pollen spectrum of honeys from the middle delta of the Paraná river (Argentina) and their environmental relationship. Span J Agric Res 8 (1): 42-52.

Carrasco-Letelier L, Mendoza-Spina Y, Branchiccela MB, 2012. Acute toxicity test of insecticides (Cipermetrina 25, Lorsban 48e, Thionex 35) on honeybees in the southwestern zone of Uruguay. Chemosphere 88: 439-444.

Carrasco-Letelier L, Mendoza-Spina Y, 2013. Apicultura como el pequeño gran modelo. Caracterización y gestión del riesgo de daño por el uso de fitosanitarios. INIA 34: 21-24.

CASAFE, 2007. Guía de productos sanitarios R. A. 13º edición. Cámara de Sanidad Agropecuaria y Fertilizantes. Ardilla y Asociados S.A., Tomo I y II.

Delaplane KS, Mayer DF, 2000. Crop pollination by bees. Cabi Publishing. UK. 344 pp.

Diniz NM, Soares AEE, Sheppard WS, Del Lama MA, 2003. Genetic structure of honeybee populations from southern Brazil and Uruguay. Genet Mol Biol 26: 47-52.

Fagúndez GA, 2011. Análisis de los recursos nectaríferos y poliníferos utilizados por Apis mellifera L. en diferentes ecosistemas del departamento Diamante (Entre Ríos). Doctoral Thesis. National University of the South. Argentine.

Fagúndez G, Caccavari M, 2003. Primeros registros de mieles monofloras y cargas de polen de soja (Glycine max L.) en Argentina. SAGPyA, Argentina. Boletín Apícola Trimestral 24: 3-6.

Fagúndez GA, Caccavari MA, 2006. Pollen analysis of honeys from the central zone of argentine province of Entre Ríos. Grana 45: 305-320.

Fagúndez G, Blettler D, Trossero A, Fernández E, 2011. Population and production development of colonies of Apis mellifera L. in Glycine max (L.) Merr. crop. Proc. 42th Int Cong of Apiculture, p. 172. Apimondia, Buenos Aires, Sept 21-25.

Figini E, 2006. Preparando la invernada. SAGPyA, Argentina. Boletín Apícola Trimestral 26: 2.

Freitas BM, Pinheiro JN, 2010. Efeitos sub-letais dos pesticidas agrícolas e seus impactos no manejo de polinizadores dos agroecossistemas brasileros. Oecologia Australis 14 (1): 282-298.

Gill R, Ramos-Rodríguez O, Raine N, 2012. Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees. Nature 491 (7422): 105-108.

Henry M, Béguin M, Requier F, Odoux J, Aupinel P, Aptel J, Tchamitchian S, Decourtye A, 2012. A common pesticide decreases foraging success and survival in honey bees. Science 336: 348-350.

Herbert LT, Vázquez DE, Arenas A, Farina, W. 2014. Effects of field-realistic doses of glyphosate on honeybee appetitive behaviour. J Exp Biol 217 (19): 3457-3464.

Kruskal WH, Wallis WA, 1952. Use of ranks in one-criterion variance analysis. J Am Stat Assoc 47: 583-621.

Malacalza N, Caccavari MA, Fagúndez GA, Lupano CE, 2005. Unifloral honeys of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentine. J Sci Food Agr 85: 1389-1396.

Mamood AN, Waller GD, 1990, Recovery of learning responses by honeybees following sublethal exposure to Permethrin. Physiol Entomol 15: 55-60.

Mayer DF, Lunden JD, 1999. Field and laboratory tests of the effects of fipronil on adult female bees of Apis mellifera, Megachile rotundata and Nomia melanderi. J Apic Res 38: 191-197.

Milfont MO, 2012. Uso da abelha melífera (Apis mellifera L.) na polinização e aumento de produtividade de grãos em variedade de soja [Glycine max (L.) Merril.] adaptada às condições climáticas do nordeste brasileiro. Doctoral Thesis. Universidade Federal Do Ceará, Universidade Federal Da Paraíba, Universidade Federal Rural De Pernambuco, Brazil.

Naumann KR, Currie W, Isman MB, 1994. Evaluation of the repellent effects of a neem insecticide on foraging honey bees and other pollinators. Can Entomol 126: 225-230.

Ojeda P, 2012. Evaluación de apiarios como herramienta ecotoxicológica. Master's thesis. University of the Republic, Faculty of Science, Uruguay.

PPDB, 2010. The Pesticides Properties Database. Developed by the Agriculture & Environment Research Unit (AERU), University of Hertfordshire.

Satorre E, 2005. Cambios en la tecnología de la agricultura. Ciencia Hoy 15: 24-31.

Sheppard WS, Rinderer TE, Mazzoli JA, Stelzer JA, Shimanuki H, 1991a. Gene flow between African and European derived honeybee populations in Argentina. Nature 349: 782-784.

Sheppard WS, Soares AEE, De Jong D, Shimanuki H, 1991b. Hybrid status of honeybee populations near the historic origin of africanization in Brazil. Apidologie 22: 643-652.

Shires SW, Le Blanc J, Murray A, Forbes S, Debray P, 1984. A field trial to assess the effects of a new pyrethroid insecticide WL 85871, on foraging honeybee in oilseed rape. J Apic Res 23: 217-216.

Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ, 1995. Biometry: the principles and practice of statistics in biological research, 3rd ed. Freeman WH & Co, New York. 887 pp.

Suchail S, Guez D, Belzunces LP, 2000. Characteristics of imidacloprid toxicity in two Apis mellifera subspecies. Environ Toxicol Chem 19: 1901–1905.

Taylor KS, Waller GD, Crowder LA, 1987. Impairment of a classical conditioned response of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) by sublethal doses of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides. Apidologie 18: 243-252.

Thompson HM, 2003. Behavioural effects of pesticides in bees. Their potential for use in risk assessment. Ecotoxicology 12: 317-330.

Thrupp LA, 2000. Linking agricultural biodiversity and food security: the valuable role of agrobiodiversity for sustainable agriculture. Int Aff 76: 283-297.

Weyland F, Poggio SL, Ghersa CM, 2008. Agricultura y biodiversidad. Ciencia Hoy 106: 27-35.

DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2016141-7492