Findings of herbicide and fungicide residues in bee bread

Bokšová A., Kazda J., Stejskalová M., Šubrt T., Uttl L., Mráz P., Bartoška J. (2021): Findings of herbicide and fungicide residues in bee bread. Plant Soil Environ., 67: 343–352.


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The honey bee is one of the insects that is significantly endangered by the application of pesticides in the cultivation of crops. Not only is acute toxicity dangerous, but the importance of chronic poisoning by low doses of pesticides in hives is growing. The behavior of bees can be affected not only by insecticide residues but also by herbicide and fungicide residues. In 2016–2018, samples of bee bread were analysed for pesticide content at 25 different localities from intensive agricultural production areas of the Czech Republic. Substances were extracted by QuEChERS and determined by liquid chromatography, together with mass spectrometric detection. We detected up to 18 pesticides in one sample. In total, during 2016–2018, we identified 53 active substances. Fifteen substances (31%) were herbicidal, 23 substances (47%) of fungicidal nature and 6 substances (12%) of insecticidal nature. The coefficient of variation showed large differences in the frequency of revealed pesticides between years. For substances sprayed outside period attractive for pollinators (mainly herbicides and some fungicides), the usual methodology cannot reliably determine the degree of contamination, and thus the actual contamination with these substances may be even higher than demonstrated in this study.


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