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Title: Sub-lethal concentrations of neonicotinoid insecticides at the field level affect negatively honey yield: Evidence from a 6-year survey of Greek apiaries
Authors: Chambers, Robert G. 
Chatzimichael, Konstantinos 
Tzouvelekas, Vangelis M. 
Major Field of Science: Agricultural Sciences
Field Category: Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries
Keywords: Neonicotinoid insecticides;Apiaries;Imidacloprid;Thiamethoxam
Issue Date: Apr-2019
Source: PLoS ONE, 2019, vol. 14, no. 4
Volume: 14
Issue: 4
Journal: PLoS ONE 
Abstract: The threats posed by neonicotinoid insecticides to bee populations have been the focus of considerable research. Previous work has shed new light on the effects of neonicotinoids on bees by uncovering pathways through which neonicotinoids affect bee population dynamics and the potential interactions they have with exogenous stressors. Yet, little is known about whether these effects translate in a field-relevant setting to substantial losses in honey yields for commercial beekeepers. Here, we used data from a 6-year survey of 60 apiaries in Greece and economic modelling to assess at the field level the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on honey production. Based on production function estimates, we found that sub-lethal concentrations of two widely used neonicotinoid insecticides (imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) detected in the nectar of flowers resulted in substantial losses in honey production for commercial beekeepers in our sample. By simulating a scenario with ideal pathogenic and environmental conditions, we found that the magnitude of the neonicotinoid effects decreases significantly under ideal conditions providing evidence for possible synergies at the field between neonicotinoids and environmental and pathogenic factors. Moreover, in a replicated study with grouped apiaries, we found evidence that the marginal effects of neonicotinoids on honey production vary across apiaries facing different conditions.
ISSN: 1932-6203
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215363
Rights: © Chambers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Type: Article
Affiliation : University of Maryland 
Cyprus University of Technology 
University of Crete 
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