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Effects of sublethal acetamiprid doses on the lifespan and memory-related characteristics of honey bee (Apis mellifera) workers

  • Jingliang Shi
  • Chunhua Liao
  • Zilong Wang
  • Zhijiang Zeng
  • Xiaobo WuEmail author
Original article


Honey bees that leave the hive and collect nectar or pollen from pesticide-treated plants are susceptible to be poisoned. Acetamiprid is a new class of insecticide and a member of the neonicotinoids that has been widely applied in the field for pest control. However, effects of sublethal doses of acetamiprid on worker bees are not yet fully understood. In this study, we examined effects of sublethal doses of acetamiprid on lifespan and memory-related characteristics. Newly emerged worker bees from a single colony were randomly divided into four groups, and this experiment was repeated three times using three different colonies. Three doses (0.5, 1, and 2 μg/bee) of acetamiprid diluted by water were added on the thorax of worker bees while bees were exposed to pure water as a control (0 μg/bee). The lifespan of bees treated with acetamiprid at a concentration over 1 μg/bee was significantly reduced, while there was no significant difference between the 0.5 μg/bee group and 0 μg/bee group. All three doses of acetamiprid affected the memory-related characteristics of bees, reduced the success of proboscis extension response (PER), affected homing ability, and influenced expression levels of two learning- and memory-related genes compared with the control group. This research confirms that sublethal doses of acetamiprid affect the survival of honey bees.


Apis mellifera Acetamiprid  Sublethal doses  Lifespan  Learning and memory 


Author contributions

XB Wu and ZJ Zeng conceived this research and designed experiments; ZL Wang and CH Liao participated in the design and interpretation of the data; XB Wu and JL Shi performed experiments and analysis; XB Wu and JL Shi wrote the paper and participated in the revisions of it. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding information

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31760714), the Outstanding Young Talent Program of Jiangxi Province (No. 20162BCB23029), and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangxi Province (20171BAB204012).


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Copyright information

© INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Honeybee Research InstituteJiangxi Agricultural UniversityNanchangChina

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