ABRC2010 Pesticide Analysis at the Stationary Apiaries

Bee Health August 13, 2013|Print

The following was presented at the 2010 American Bee Research Conference in Orlando, FL.

10. Eitzer, B., F. Drummond, J.D. Ellis, N. Ostiguy, M. Spivak, K. Aronstein, W.S. Sheppard, K. Visscher, D. Cox-Foster & A. Averill - PESTICIDE ANALYSIS AT THE STATIONARY APIARIES - One facet of the stationary apiary project within the “Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting the Health of Managed Bees Coordinated Agricultural Program” is a monitoring of the honey bee’s exposure to pesticides. This is being done by determining pesticide residues in the pollen that is brought back to the hive by foraging honey bees. At five hives from each of the stationary apiaries, pollen is sampled with traps one day per week. Pollen samples are frozen after collection. Aliquots from all samples taken from an apiary during a calendar month are combined to generate a monthly composite sample for each apiary. Five grams of this composite sample are analyzed by a multi-pesticide residue procedure. In brief, the samples are extracted with acetonitrile using a dispersive solid phase technique known as QuEChERS (for Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe) and analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry. Using this technique allows over 140 different pesticides to be analyzed in the parts per billion (PPB) concentration range.

To date 29 of the monthly composite samples have been analyzed. Within these 29 samples, residues of 32 different pesticides or pesticide metabolites have been observed including: 14 insecticides plus one insecticide metabolite, 9 fungicides and 8 herbicides. The average composite pollen sample had an average of 4.1 pesticide residues detected. The concentration of residues when detected are mostly in the low PPB range (1< to 30 ppb) but some residues were substantially higher. The results indicate that honey bees at the stationary apiaries are being exposed to varying amounts of pesticides. As might be expected, this exposure amount varies with the location of the apiary (i.e. honey bees in Washington are exposed to different pesticides than those in Florida) and time of year. In addition, analysis of non-composited samples taken from five different hives within the same apiary on the same day also shows different pesticide amounts. This indicates that the honey bees from these hives are clearly foraging from different fields that have had different amounts of pesticides applied. This variability of pesticide exposure will be further examined as we continue to monitor these hives over the next several years.

More presentations from this conference can be found at Proceedings of the American Bee Research Conference 2010