Imidacloprid - a type of neonicotinoid - changes the way that worker bees interact with the colony’s larvae: they become less social, stop nursing larvae, experience altered social and spatial dynamics within nests, and cease hive insulation construction. A research team led by James Crall of Harvard University investigated the effects of imidacloprid using a robotic platform for continuous, multicolony monitoring of uniquely identified workers. Their research showed that the behaviours induced by imidacloprid lead to colony collapse.
The team concluded: “Our results show that neonicotinoids induce widespread disruption of worker behavior within the nest that may contribute to impaired growth, highlighting the potential of automated techniques for characterizing the multifaceted, dynamic impacts of stressors on behavior in bee colonies.”
Source: The Ecologist, 28 Jan 2019