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Neonicotinoid exposure disrupts bumblebee nest behavior, social networks, and thermoregulation

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Science  09 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6415, pp. 683-686
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat1598

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Trouble at the hive

Neonicotinoid pesticides cause mortality and decline in insect pollinators. One repeatedly noted effect is a reduction in bee colony size. However, the mechanism behind this reduction is unclear. Crall et al. performed complex real-time monitoring of bumblebee behavior within their nests (see the Perspective by Raine). Neonicotinoid exposure reduced nurse and caretaking behaviors, which affected productivity and harmed colony thermoregulation. These changes in behavior acted together to decrease colony viability, even when exposure was nonlethal.

Science, this issue p. 683; see also p. 643