Comparing response of buff-tailed bumblebees and red mason bees to application of a thiacloprid-prochloraz mixture under semi-field conditions
Recent studies have reported interspecific differences in how bee species respond to various stressors. Evaluating the exposure and responses of different bee species to plant protection products is considered an essential part of their risk assessment. This study was conducted to assess the impacts of thiacloprid-prochloraz mixture on buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and red mason bees (Osmia bicornis) in a worst-case scenario under semi-field conditions. Bumblebee colonies or solitary bee trap nests were confined in tunnels with flowering oilseed rape. The recommended maximum application rates of 72 g thiacloprid/ha and 675 g prochloraz/ha were applied as a tank mixture during bee flight in full flowering oilseed rape. Several parameters such as flight and foraging activity, population parameters, and exposure level were investigated. Our results show adverse effects of the combination of thiacloprid and prochloraz on the reproductive performance of red mason bees. The number of cocoons produced by O. bicornis was significantly reduced in the treatment compared to the control group. Regarding bumblebees, we found no effects of the thiacloprid-prochloraz mixture on any observed parameters of colony development. The maximum detected concentrations of both active substances three days after application were higher in O. bicornis pollen mass compared to B. terrestris stored pollen. We conclude that this worst-case scenario of thiacloprid-prochloraz exposure poses a high risk to solitary bees and thus the use of such mixture should be restricted.