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1 October 2009 Comparative Toxicity of Pesticides to Stingless Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini)
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Abstract

Stingless bees are potential pollinators of commercial tropical crops and their use may increase in the short term. However, studies comparing the toxicity of pesticides to different individuals and species are lacking, making it difficult to evaluate their short- and long-term effects on colonies and populations of these insects. In this work, we tested the lethality of compounds from the main pesticide groups on stingless bees of the species Melipona beecheii Bennett, Trigona nigra Provancher, and Nannotrigona perilampoides Cresson. The LD50 (in micrograms per bee) for each pesticide was calculated for callow workers and foragers of the three species as well as for gynes and drones of M. beecheii. The results showed that all species were highly susceptible to the evaluated compounds. Nicotinoid pesticides were the most toxic, followed in descending order by permethrin, diazinon, and methomyl. We found evidence of a relationship between the body weight of the species and their LD50 for permethrin and methomyl (r = 0.91 and 0.90, respectively) but not for diazinon (r = -0.089). An analysis of contingency tables showed that within each species, callow workers had higher mortalities than foragers (P < 0.01). In M. beecheii at similar pesticide dose more males died compared with females [χ2(0.01),1 = 10.16]. However, gynes were less resistant than workers [χ2(0.01),1 = 8.11]. The potential negative consequences of pesticides to native stingless bees are discussed considering the reproductive biology of these insects. It is important to take actions to prevent damage to these key species for the ecology and agriculture of México and Latin America.

© 2009 Entomological Society of America
Gustavo Rafael Valdovinos-Núñez, José Javier G. Quezada-Euán, Patricia Ancona-Xiu, Humberto Moo-Valle, Angélica Carmona, and Esaú Ruiz Sánchez "Comparative Toxicity of Pesticides to Stingless Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini)," Journal of Economic Entomology 102(5), 1737-1742, (1 October 2009). https://doi.org/10.1603/029.102.0502
Accepted: 12 June 2009; Published: 1 October 2009
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