Hazards of insecticides to the bumble bees Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae) foraging on flowering white clover in turf.

Jerome A. Gels, David W. Held, Daniel A. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Insecticides used on turf are sometimes applied to areas with flowering weeds that attract honey bees and native pollinators. We tested residual effects of such treatments on colony vitality and behavior of the bumble bees Bombus impatiens Cresson foraging on turf containingwhite clover, Trifolium repens L. Imidacloprid, a syst emic chloronicotinyl used for preventive control of root-feeding grubs, was applied as granules, followed by irrigation, or sprayed as a wettable powder, with or without irrigation. Hives were confined on the plots in large field cages after residues had dried and colony vitality (i.e., numbers of brood, workers, and honey pots, and weights of queens, workers, and whole colonies with hives) was evaluated after 28-30 d. Workers' foraging activity and defensive response to an aggressive stimulus also were evaluated. In another test, weedy turf was sprayed with chlorpyrifos, carbaryl, or cyfluthrin at labeled rates for surface-feeding pests. Bee colonies were confined on the plots after residues had dried, with effects on colony vitality evaluated after 14 d. Finally, foraging activity of wild bumble bees was monitored on open plots to determine if insecticide-treated areas were avoided. Imidacloprid granules, and imidacloprid sprays applied with posttreatment irrigation, had no effect on colony vitality or workers' behavior, suggesting that such treatments pose little systemic or residual hazard to bumble bees. In contrast, exposure to dry nonirrigated residues of all of the aforementioned insecticides had severe impact on colony vitality. Foraging workers did not avoid insecticide-treated areas. Means by which turf managers can reduce hazards of insecticide applications to pollinators are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-728
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Economic Entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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