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Data from: Honey bee immune response to sublethal concentrations of clothianidin goes beyond the macronutrients found in artificial diets

posted on 2024-06-24, 16:44 authored by Pierre LauPierre Lau, Giovanni Tundo, Joel Caren, Weiqiang Zhang, Yu-Cheng Zhu

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) often encounter a variety of stressors in their environment, including poor nutrition and pesticides. These stressors interact and can be exacerbated in large-scale agroecosystems. We investigated how diets varying in macronutrient ratios can affect nurse bee susceptibility to pesticide stressors. Nurse bees were fed sublethal concentrations of clothianidin (CLO), a neonicotinoid insecticide known to have sublethal and lethal effects on honey bees, after newly emerged bees were given diets varying in proteins and lipids, a natural pollen diet, or no diet. Bees given pollen had improved longevity, physiology, enzyme activity, and gene expression related to pesticide detoxification. The artificial diets helped improve bee health and physiology but did little to promote bee detoxification enzymes and genes. There was no effect of the sublethal CLO treatments on its own, but there was an interactive effect between our high CLO treatment and nutrition on bee longevity and vitellogenin expression. Honey bees given pollen upregulated of detoxification genes and had higher enzyme activity related to pesticide metabolism. Our results suggest that macronutrients in artificial diets can help promote bee physiology, but other nutrients in pollen, such as potentially phytochemicals, are more directly linked honey bee tolerance to pesticide stress.

This work was supported by United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Research Project No. 6066-21000-001-000-D, Ecological Assessment and Mitigation Strategies to Reduce the Risks of Bees to Stressors in Southern Crop Ecosystems.


USDA-ARS: 6066-21000-001-000-D


Data contact name

Lau, Pierre, W.

Data contact email


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  • Non-geospatial

ISO Topic Category

  • environment

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

honey bees; Apis mellifera; insecticide resistance; neonicotinoid insecticides; agroecosystems; clothianidin; sublethal effects; nutrient deficiencies; proteins; lipids; bee pollen; phytochemicals; metabolic detoxification

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 305

Pending citation

  • Yes

Public Access Level

  • Public