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Sublethal neonicotinoid exposure attenuates the effects of electromagnetic fields on honey bee flight and learning

Sublethal neonicotinoid exposure attenuates the effects of electromagnetic fields on honey bee flight and learning
Sublethal neonicotinoid exposure attenuates the effects of electromagnetic fields on honey bee flight and learning
Many environmental stressors are currently implicated in the decline of flying insects in general, and important pollinator species such as the honey bee. Recent studies have shown that extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs) affect many aspects of insect behaviour and cognition which raises the potential that ELF EMFs could interact with other environmental stressors such as neonicotinoid insecticides to have even greater impact on the decline of flying insects. Here we analysed the effects of individual and combined exposure of the honey bee to 50Hz EMFs and sublethal exposure to clothianidin, in a tethered flight assay and an olfactory appetitive learning assay.
Clothianidin was significantly toxic to bees and exposure to field-realistic levels (2.00 ng/bee) led to 25% mortality. Exposure to ELF EMFs alone led to a significant increase in wingbeat frequency at levels above 100 µT. Prior exposure to clothianidin attenuated the effects of EMFs on wingbeat frequency. Exposure to EMFs alone reduced learning of a proboscis extension reflex (PER). Prior exposure to low doses of clothianidin attenuated the effects of EMFs on PER.
These results indicate no evidence of synergy between clothianidin and ELF EMFs as environmental stressors but suggest the potential for EMFs to affect the same susceptible fraction of the bee population that have been affected by clothianidin. Results lay the foundation to further explore the interactions of ELF EMFs with other environmental stressors and consider the key factors that may make bees susceptible to ELF EMFs.
EMF, apis mellifera, associative learning, clothianidin, flight
2666-7657
Shepherd, Sebastian
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Lima, M.A.P.
a18c26d8-ed69-4170-8016-f8e7dc9286d3
Oliveira, E.E.
53335aeb-0698-4a22-bb48-33e604be4814
Sharkh, Suleiman
c8445516-dafe-41c2-b7e8-c21e295e56b9
Aonuma, Hitoshi
a8b20ebb-d63c-4bd6-8a58-b0773ddaae10
Jackson, Christopher
ab14e7be-1b25-4425-9e8f-6ccee5b984a8
Newland, Philip
7a018c0e-37ba-40f5-bbf6-49ab0f299dbb
Shepherd, Sebastian
42dcec23-42cf-4941-8df0-fcb75da4223e
Lima, M.A.P.
a18c26d8-ed69-4170-8016-f8e7dc9286d3
Oliveira, E.E.
53335aeb-0698-4a22-bb48-33e604be4814
Sharkh, Suleiman
c8445516-dafe-41c2-b7e8-c21e295e56b9
Aonuma, Hitoshi
a8b20ebb-d63c-4bd6-8a58-b0773ddaae10
Jackson, Christopher
ab14e7be-1b25-4425-9e8f-6ccee5b984a8
Newland, Philip
7a018c0e-37ba-40f5-bbf6-49ab0f299dbb

Shepherd, Sebastian, Lima, M.A.P., Oliveira, E.E., Sharkh, Suleiman, Aonuma, Hitoshi, Jackson, Christopher and Newland, Philip (2021) Sublethal neonicotinoid exposure attenuates the effects of electromagnetic fields on honey bee flight and learning. Environmental Advances, 4, [100051]. (doi:10.1016/j.envadv.2021.100051).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Many environmental stressors are currently implicated in the decline of flying insects in general, and important pollinator species such as the honey bee. Recent studies have shown that extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs) affect many aspects of insect behaviour and cognition which raises the potential that ELF EMFs could interact with other environmental stressors such as neonicotinoid insecticides to have even greater impact on the decline of flying insects. Here we analysed the effects of individual and combined exposure of the honey bee to 50Hz EMFs and sublethal exposure to clothianidin, in a tethered flight assay and an olfactory appetitive learning assay.
Clothianidin was significantly toxic to bees and exposure to field-realistic levels (2.00 ng/bee) led to 25% mortality. Exposure to ELF EMFs alone led to a significant increase in wingbeat frequency at levels above 100 µT. Prior exposure to clothianidin attenuated the effects of EMFs on wingbeat frequency. Exposure to EMFs alone reduced learning of a proboscis extension reflex (PER). Prior exposure to low doses of clothianidin attenuated the effects of EMFs on PER.
These results indicate no evidence of synergy between clothianidin and ELF EMFs as environmental stressors but suggest the potential for EMFs to affect the same susceptible fraction of the bee population that have been affected by clothianidin. Results lay the foundation to further explore the interactions of ELF EMFs with other environmental stressors and consider the key factors that may make bees susceptible to ELF EMFs.

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 April 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 April 2021
Published date: July 2021
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work was supported by awards from the Science without Borders Programme of the CAPES Foundation (Finance Code 001) and from the Minas Gerais State Foundation for Research Aid (FAPEMIG; APQ-0028-15) and Southampton University to PLN, MAPL and EEO. SS was funded by a Mayflower Studentship from the University of Southampton. Publisher Copyright: © 2021
Keywords: EMF, apis mellifera, associative learning, clothianidin, flight

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 448393
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/448393
ISSN: 2666-7657
PURE UUID: 8dd16f65-0671-487d-a3c4-fa0c61990979
ORCID for Suleiman Sharkh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7335-8503
ORCID for Philip Newland: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4124-8507

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Apr 2021 16:33
Last modified: 17 Nov 2022 02:34

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Contributors

Author: Sebastian Shepherd
Author: M.A.P. Lima
Author: E.E. Oliveira
Author: Suleiman Sharkh ORCID iD
Author: Hitoshi Aonuma
Author: Philip Newland ORCID iD

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