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Larval Exposure to the Juvenile Hormone Analog Pyriproxyfen Disrupts Acceptance of and Social Behavior Performance in Adult Honeybees
Juvenile hormone (JH) plays an important role in honeybee development and the regulation of age-related division of labor. However, honeybees can be exposed to insect growth regulators (IGRs), such as JH analogs developed for insect pest and vector control. Although their side effects as endocrine disruptors on honeybee larval or adult stages have been studied, little is known about the subsequent effects on adults of a sublethal larval exposure. We therefore studied the impact of the JH analog pyriproxyfen on larvae and resulting adults within a colony under semi-field conditions by combining recent laboratory larval tests with chemical analysis and behavioral observations. Oral and chronic larval exposure at cumulative doses of 23 or 57 ng per larva were tested.
Pyriproxyfen-treated bees emerged earlier than control bees and the highest dose led to a significant rate of malformed adults (atrophied wings). Young pyriproxyfen-treated bees were more frequently rejected by nestmates from the colony, inducing a shorter life span. This could be linked to differences in cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) profiles between control and pyriproxyfen-treated bees. Finally, pyriproxyfen-treated bees exhibited fewer social behaviors (ventilation, brood care, contacts with nestmates or food stocks) than control bees.
Larval exposure to sublethal doses of pyriproxyfen affected several life history traits of the honeybees. Our results especially showed changes in social integration (acceptance by nestmates and social behaviors performance) that could potentially affect population growth and balance of the colony.
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