Comparative Toxicities and Synergism of Apple Orchard Pesticides to Apis mellifera (L.) and Osmia cornifrons (Radoszkowski)

David J. Biddinger, Jacqueline L. Robertson, Chris Mullin, James Frazier, Sara A. Ashcraft, Edwin G. Rajotte, Neelendra K. Joshi, Mace Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The topical toxicities of five commercial grade pesticides commonly sprayed in apple orchards were estimated on adult worker honey bees, Apis mellifera (L.) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Japanese orchard bees, Osmia cornifrons (Radoszkowski) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). The pesticides were acetamiprid (Assail 30SG), λ-cyhalothrin (Warrior II), dimethoate (Dimethoate 4EC), phosmet (Imidan 70W), and imidacloprid (Provado 1.6F). At least 5 doses of each chemical, diluted in distilled water, were applied to freshly-eclosed adult bees. Mortality was assessed after 48 hr. Dose-mortality regressions were analyzed by probit analysis to test the hypotheses of parallelism and equality by likelihood ratio tests. For A. mellifera, the decreasing order of toxicity at LD50 was imidacloprid, λ-cyhalothrin, dimethoate, phosmet, and acetamiprid. For O. cornifrons, the decreasing order of toxicity at LD50 was dimethoate, λ-cyhalothrin, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, and phosmet. Interaction of imidacloprid or acetamiprid with the fungicide fenbuconazole (Indar 2F) was also tested in a 1:1 proportion for each species. Estimates of response parameters for each mixture component applied to each species were compared with dose-response data for each mixture in statistical tests of the hypothesis of independent joint action. For each mixture, the interaction of fenbuconazole (a material non-toxic to both species) was significant and positive along the entire line for the pesticide. Our results clearly show that responses of A. mellifera cannot be extrapolated to responses of O.cornifrons, and that synergism of neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides occurs using formulated product in mixtures as they are commonly applied in apple orchards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere72587
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 9 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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