Effects of truck-mounted, ultra low volume mosquito adulticides on honey bees (Apis mellifera) in a suburban field setting

Few studies have examined the impact of mosquito adulticides on honey bees under conditions that reflect actual field exposure. Whereas several studies have evaluated the toxicity of mosquito control products on honey bees, most have been laboratory based and have focused solely on acute mortality as a measure of impact. The goal of this study was to determine effects of routine applications of truck-based ultra-low volume (ULV) mosquito adulticides (i.e., Scourge, Duet, and Deltagard) on honey bees in a suburban setting. The mosquito adulticides used in this study were pyrethroids with active ingredients resmethrin (Scourge), prallethrin and sumithrin (Duet), and deltamethrin (Deltagard), in which resmethrin, prallethrin, and sumithrin were synergized with piperonyl butoxide. We measured and compared mortality and detoxification enzyme activities (esterase and glutathione S-transferase) from sentinel beehives within and outside of mosquito control areas. Concurrently, colony health (i.e., number of adult bees, brood quantity and brood quality) was compared throughout the study period. No significant differences were observed in honey bee mortality, colony health or detoxification enzyme activities between treated (five sprayed areas each received one to three insecticide treatment) and control sites (four unsprayed areas that did not receive insecticide treatment) over the seven week study period. However, our laboratory study showed that exposure to resmethrin, the active ingredient in Scourge, caused significant inhibition of esterase activity compared with the control group. Our findings suggest that proper application of truck based insecticides for mosquito control results in little or no exposure and therefore minimal effects on domestic honey bees.