Using video-tracking to assess sublethal effects of pesticides on honey bees (Apis mellifera L.)

Bethany S. Teeters, Reed M. Johnson, Marion D. Ellis, Blair D. Siegfried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Concern about the role of pesticides in honey bee decline has highlighted the need to examine the effects of sublethal exposure on bee behaviors. The video-tracking system EthoVisionXT (Noldus Information Technologies) was used to measure the effects of sublethal exposure to tau-fluvalinate and imidacloprid on honey bee locomotion, interactions, and time spent near a food source over a 24-h observation period. Bees were either treated topically with 0.3, 1.5, and 3μg tau-fluvalinate or exposed to 0.05, 0.5, 5.0, 50, and 500 ppb imidacloprid in a sugar agar cube. Tau-fluvalinate caused a significant reduction in distance moved at all dose levels (p<0.05), as did 50 and 500 ppb imidacloprid (p<0.001). Bees exposed to 50 and 500 ppb spent significantly more time near the food source than control bees (p<0.05). Interaction time decreased as time in the food zone increased for both chemicals. This study documents that video-tracking of bee behavior can enhance current protocols for measuring the effects of pesticides on honey bees at sublethal levels. It may provide a means of identifying problematic compounds for further testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1349-1354
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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