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Pest Management Science

Pesticides and reduced-risk insecticides, native bees and Pantropical stingless bees: pitfalls and perspectives

Wagner F Barbosa, Guy Smagghe and Raul Narciso C Guedes

Departamento de Entomologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, MG, Brazil.


Although invertebrates generally have a low public profile, the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., is a flagship species whose popularity likely derives from the products it provides and its perceived ecological services. Therefore, the raging debate regarding honey bee decline has surpassed the realm of beekeepers, academia, industry and regulatory agencies and now also encompasses non-governmental agencies, media, fiction writers and the general public. The early interest and concern about honey bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) soon shifted to the bigger issue of pollinator decline, with a focus on the potential involvement of pesticides in such a phenomenon. Pesticides were previously recognized as the potential culprits of the reported declines, particularly the neonicotinoid insecticides due to their widespread and peculiar use in agriculture. However, the evidence for the potential pivotal role of these neonicotinoids in the honey bee decline remains a matter of debate, with an increased recognition of the multifactorial nature of the problem and the lack of a direct association between the noted decline and neonicotinoid use. The focus on the decline of honey bee populations subsequently spread to other species, and bumble bees became another matter of concern, particularly in Europe and the US. Other bee species, ones that are particularly important in other regions of the world, remain the object of little concern (unjustifiably so). Furthermore, the continuous focus on neonicotinoids is also in need of revision, as the current evidence suggests that a broad spectrum of compounds deserve attention. Here we address both shortcomings.

Keywords: bioinsecticides;biorational insecticides;insecticidal stress;Meliponini;wild pollinators.

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