Field relevance of a synergistic effect observed in the laboratory between an EBI fungicide and a chloronicotinyl insecticide in the honeybee (Apis mellifera L, Hymenoptera)

Pest Manag Sci. 2003 Mar;59(3):279-86. doi: 10.1002/ps.626.


It had been found earlier that the chloronicotinyl insecticide thiacloprid (as the 480 g litre(-1) SC Calypso) poses a favourably low toxicity hazard to the honeybee, Apis mellifera L. As with pyrethroids, the metabolization of chloronicotinyl compounds involves monooxygenases, which are known to be inhibited by some ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitor (EBI) fungicides potentially co-applied with these insecticides. The potential synergistic enhancement of the toxicity of thiacloprid to honeybees when co-applied with such fungicides was therefore studied under laboratory and semi-field conditions. Fungicides of other chemical classes were also examined for synergistic potential to reveal other metabolic interactions. In the laboratory, only a slight synergistic effect was observed with the anilinopyrimidine fungicide examined, while a significant enhancement of thiacloprid toxicity to honeybees was found with EBI fungicides. In three tunnel tests conducted under different environmental conditions to simulate field exposure, no increased mortality was observed when honeybees were directly sprayed with thiacloprid (Calypso) alone or in combination with the EBI fungicide tebuconazole (250 g litre(-1) EW, Folicur). There was also no synergized reduction in the foraging intensity on the treated crop. In general, the foraging intensity decreased after thiacloprid treatment but was restored within 24-48 h. The hive vitality was not affected by either thiacloprid or its tank mix with tebuconazole. Our results suggest that, at the recommended use rates, thiacloprid poses a negligible lethal risk to honeybees when applied either alone or in tank mixes with fungicides of various chemical classes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees / drug effects*
  • Bees / physiology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Fungicides, Industrial / chemistry
  • Fungicides, Industrial / toxicity*
  • Insecticides / chemistry
  • Insecticides / pharmacology
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Pyridines / chemistry
  • Pyridines / toxicity*
  • Thiazines / chemistry
  • Thiazines / toxicity*
  • Time Factors
  • Triazoles / chemistry
  • Triazoles / pharmacology
  • Weather


  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Insecticides
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Pyridines
  • Thiazines
  • Triazoles
  • tebuconazole
  • thiacloprid