Effect of reduced risk pesticides for use in greenhouse vegetable production on Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

Pest Manag Sci. 2010 Feb;66(2):142-6. doi: 10.1002/ps.1846.


Background: Bumble bees [Bombus impatiens (Cresson)] are widely used for supplemental pollination of greenhouse vegetables and are at risk of pesticide exposure while foraging. The objective of this study was to determine the lethal and sub-lethal effects of four insecticides (imidacloprid, abamectin, metaflumizone and chlorantraniliprole) and three fungicides (myclobutanil, potassium bicarbonate and cyprodinil + fludioxonil) used or with potential for use in Ontario greenhouse vegetable production to B. impatiens.

Results: Imidacloprid, abamectin, and metaflumizone were harmful to worker bees following direct contact, while chlorantraniliprole and all fungicides tested were harmless. Worker bees fed imidacloprid-contaminated pollen had shortened life spans and were unable to produce brood. Worker bees consumed less pollen contaminated with abamectin. Metaflumizone, chlorantraniliprole and all fungicides tested caused no sub-lethal effects in bumble bee micro-colonies.

Conclusion: We conclude that the new reduced risk insecticides metaflumizone and chlorantraniliprole and the fungicides myclobutanil, potassium bicarbonate and cyprodinil + fludioxonil are safe for greenhouse use in the presence of bumble bees. This information can be used preserve greenhouse pollination programs while maintaining acceptable pest management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Animals
  • Bees / drug effects*
  • Bees / physiology
  • Fungicides, Industrial / toxicity*
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Pollination / drug effects
  • Vegetables / growth & development*


  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Insecticides