The active ingredients of a mitotoxic fungicide negatively affect pollen consumption and worker survival in laboratory-reared honey bees (Apis mellifera)

Adrian Fisher, Teddy Cogley, Cahit Ozturk, Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Brian H. Smith, Osman Kaftanoglu, Jennifer H. Fewell, Jon F. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Recent observations of many sublethal effects of pesticides on pollinators have raised questions about whether standard short-term laboratory tests of pesticide effects on survival are sufficient for pollinator protection. The fungicide Pristine® and its active ingredients (25.2% boscalid, 12.8% pyraclostrobin) have been reported to have low acute toxicity to caged honey bee workers, but many sublethal effects at field-relevant doses have been reported and Pristine® was recently found to increase worker pollen consumption, reduce worker longevity and colony populations at field relevant concentrations (Fisher et al. 2021). To directly compare these whole-colony field results to more standard laboratory toxicology tests, the effects of Pristine®, at a range of field-relevant concentrations, were assessed on the survival and pollen consumption of honey bee workers 0–14 days of age. Also, to separate the effects of the inert and two active ingredients, bees were fed pollen containing boscalid, pyraclostrobin, or pyraclostrobin plus boscalid, at concentrations matching those in the Pristine® treatments. Pyraclostrobin significantly reduced pollen consumption across the duration of the experiment, and dose-dependently reduced pollen consumption on days 12–14. Pristine® and boscalid significantly reduced pollen feeding rate on days 12–14. Boscalid reduced survival in a dose-dependent manner. Consumption of Pristine® or pyraclostrobin plus boscalid did not affect survival, providing evidence against strong negative effects of the inert ingredients in Pristine® and against negative synergistic effects of boscalid and pyraclostrobin. The stronger toxic effects of Pristine® observed in field colonies compared to this laboratory test, and the opposite responses of pollen consumption in the laboratory and field to Pristine®, show that standard laboratory toxicology tests can fail to predict responses of pollinators to pesticides and to provide protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112841
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021


  • Fungicides
  • Honey bees
  • Laboratory assay
  • Pollen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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