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Thymol as an alternative to pesticides: persistence and effects of Apilife Var on the phototactic behavior of the honeybee Apis mellifera

Abstract : Thymol is a natural substance increasingly used as an alternative to pesticides in the fight against the Varroa destructor mite. Despite the effectiveness of this phenolic monoterpene against Varroa, few articles have covered the negative or side effects of thymol on bees. In a previous study, we have found an impairment of phototaxis in honeybees following application of sublethal doses of thymol—lower or equal to 100 ng/bee—under laboratory conditions. The present work shows the same behavioral effects on bees from hives treated with Apilife Var®, a veterinary drug containing 74 % thymol, with a decrease in phototactic behavior observed 1 day after treatment. Thus, thymol causes disruption of bee phototactic behavior both under laboratory conditions as well as in beehives. The bee exposure dose in treated hives was quantified using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC–MS), giving a median value of 4.3 μg per body 24 h after treatment, with 11 ng in the brain. The thymol level in 20 organic waxes from hives treated with Apilife Var® was also measured and showed that it persists in waxes (around 10 mg/kg) 1 year after treatment. Thus, in the light of (1) behavioral data obtained under laboratory conditions and in beehives, (2) the persistence of thymol in waxes, and (3) the high load on bees, it would appear important to study the long-term effects of thymol in beehives.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02418360
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 5:15:20 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 3:35:47 AM

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Jean-Luc Carayon, Nathan Téné, Elsa Bonnafé, Julie Alayrangues, Lucie Hotier, et al.. Thymol as an alternative to pesticides: persistence and effects of Apilife Var on the phototactic behavior of the honeybee Apis mellifera. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Springer Verlag, 2014, 21 (7), pp.4934-4939. ⟨10.1007/s11356-013-2143-6⟩. ⟨hal-02418360⟩

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