Large-scale study investigating the effects of a tank mixture containing thiacloprid-prochloraz on honey bees (Apis mellifera)
Risk assessment of plant protection products (PPPs) will be conducted before authorization for their possible effects on non-target organisms, including honey bees. Tank mixtures are often common practice by farmers, and mostly their effects on honey bees are not routinely assessed. To enable a realistic assessment of laboratory-reported effects of a combination of the insecticide thiacloprid and fungicide prochloraz on honey bees, a large-scale field study with spray application in winter oilseed rape was conducted in four regions in Germany. Several parameters were investigated, including mortality, flight activity, and colony development. Residue analysis of various materials (e.g., dead bees, nectar, and pollen) was conducted to assess exposure level. We observed several intoxication symptoms 2 h after application, including a high number of moribund bees and dead bees on the first day after application (DAA +1) compared to the control. Adverse effects were observed on the number of open brood cells, with a significant reduction of approximately 22% compared to control over the experimental period. High residue concentrations were detected on flowers and dead bees on the day of application, which decreased rapidly within six days. The residue concentrations detected were higher in bee-collected materials than in materials stored in the hive. In conclusion, exposure to a combination containing thiacloprid-prochloraz poses a high risk to honey bees. Thus, the application of such a mixture on flowering crops is restricted in Germany.