Home > Papers from 2015 > How do pesticides affect navigation?

How do pesticides affect navigation?

It has been a slow time for insect navigation papers over the summer but we are back with a paper about the impact of herbicides.
The chemical environment within which modern bees forage is greatly affected by human agricultural activity. Traditional testing of pesticides and herbicides focusses on direct health impacts of chemicals on animals. Of course it is possible that the impact of pesticides or herbicides on indigenous animals may be more indirect. Maria Sol Balbuena and colleague tested the learning and navigational success of honeybees following a sublethal dose of a common herbicide Glyphosphate (GLY). In their own words they found that: ” … honeybees … spent more time performing homeward flights than control bees … and … also performed more indirect homing flights. Moreover, the proportion of direct homeward flights performed after a second release from the same site increased in control bees but not in treated bees. These results suggest that, in honeybees, exposure to levels of GLY commonly found in agricultural settings impairs the cognitive capacities needed to retrieve and integrate spatial information for a successful return to the hive. Therefore, honeybee navigation is affected by ingesting traces of the most widely used herbicide worldwide, with potential long-term negative consequences for colony foraging success.”
Balbuena, M. S., Tison, L., Hahn, M. L., Greggers, U., Menzel, R., & Farina, W. M. (2015). Effects of sublethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation. The Journal of experimental biology218(17), 2799-2805.
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Categories: Papers from 2015
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