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Flupyradifurone reduces nectar consumption and foraging but does not alter honey bee recruitment dancing.


Foraging is essential for honey bee colony fitness and is enhanced by the waggle dance, a recruitment behavior in which bees can communicate food location and quality. We tested if the consumption of nectar (sucrose solution) with a field-realistic concentration of 4 ppm flupyradifurone (FPF) could alter foraging behavior and recruitment dancing in Apis mellifera. Foragers were repelled by FPF. They visited the FPF feeder less often and spent less time imbibing sucrose solution (2.5 M, 65% w/w) with FPF. As a result, bees feeding on the FPF treatment consumed 16% less nectar. However, FPF did not affect dancing: there were no effects on unloading wait time, the number of dance bouts per nest visit, or the number of dance circuits performed per dance bout. FPF could therefore deter bees from foraging on contaminated nectar. However, the willingness of bees to recruit nestmates for nectar with FPF is concerning. Recruitment can rapidly amplify the number of foragers and could overcome the decrease in consumption of FPF-contaminated nectar, resulting in a net inflow of pesticide to the colony. FPF also significantly altered the expression of 116 genes, some of which may be relevant for the olfactory learning deficits induced by FPF and the toxicity of FPF.

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