Weight differences of honey bees after administration of sublethal doses of dimethoate
Background: The aim of this work was to assess honey bee body weight as a possible further parameter to detect effects in a 10 day chronic feeding study according to OECD 2451 following exposure to sublethal concentrations of a plant protection product (i.e. dimethoate). This investigation is based on the assumption that weight differences might be caused by chronic feeding of dimethoate. Two set of tests in two different laboratories (Lab 1 and Lab 2) were conducted in order to investigate possible weight changes of complete adult honey bees and/or parts of their body (honey stomach and intestine) following treatment of dimethoate. Bees were weighed before and after chronic feeding of sub-lethal concentrations of dimethoate. Results: Differences in the number of bees which lost weight following treatment of sublethal concentrations of dimethoate was found in Lab 1, but could not confirmed in Lab 2. The difference in weight between the control group and the dimethoate treatment could only be detected as a statistical significant difference in one lab at the highest concentration (0.4 mg/kg). Assessment of weight changes of parts of the bee body (honey stomach and intestine) shows a very high variation (CV) which makes interpretation of the data of the total body weight questionable. Conclusion: The results of the two laboratories were contradictory and no conclusive assessment can be done following the two sets of experiments. Assessment of bee body weight within a 10-day chronic feeding study is considered questionable for the detection of sublethal effects. Further work with other active ingredients is needed to clarify if body weight change of honey bees can be used as a parameter for sublethal effects.