Date of this Version
Published in Current Opinion in Insect Science 26 (2018), pp 57–62.
There exist a variety of factors that negatively impact the health and survival of managed honey bee colonies, including the spread of parasites and pathogens, loss of habitat, reduced availability or quality of food resources, climate change, poor queen quality, changing cultural and commercial beekeeping practices, as well as exposure to agricultural and apicultural pesticides both in the field and in the hive. These factors are often closely intertwined, and it is unlikely that a single stressor is driving colony losses. There is a growing consensus, however, that increasing prevalence of parasites and pathogens are among the most significant threats to managed bee colonies. Unfortunately, improper management of hives by beekeepers may exacerbate parasite populations and disease transmission. Furthermore, research continues to accumulate that describes the complex and largely harmful interactions that exist between pesticide exposure and bee immunity. This brief review summarizes our progress in understanding the impact of pesticide exposure on bees at the individual, colony, and community level.