Alleviating nutritional stress in European honeybee hives helps to increase resilience to parasite infections and reduces the interactive effects of pesticides. Here, we used a field experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of floral enhancement in reducing bee exposure to insecticides. A mass-flowering crop, white mustard, was cultivated in a small patch near an experimental apiary comprising 10 hives. To assess the frequency of floral patch use by bees in each hive, we attached electronic tags to bees foraging on white mustard flowers and then recorded the number of tagged bees in each hive a day before insecticide spraying in the adjacent paddy fields. The number of corpses around hive entrances increased within a day after the spraying but varied among hives. There was a significant negative correlation between the number of tagged bees and the cumulative number of corpses at each hive. We suggest that attracting foraging bees to mass-flowering resources near an apiary helps to reduce insecticide exposure risk.
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This research was partly supported by grants from a project of the Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution, NARO (Special Scheme Project on Vitalizing Management Entities of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 20K06118. We thank Yasuyuki Hasada, Yosuke Hasada, and Nobuyuki Murakami for their kind cooperation in establishing and managing an experimental apiary in Hokkaido; all staff of the Fujiwara farm for kindly offering their lands for the experimental apiary and white mustard cultivation; Katsuya Ejiri and other project members for helping with data collection; and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.
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Okubo, S., Shoji, A., Kimura, K. et al. Effectiveness of floral enhancement in reducing honeybee exposure to insecticides. Appl Entomol Zool (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13355-021-00727-9
- Paddy landscape
- Radio-frequency identification
- Sinapis alba
- white mustard