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Pesticides and Mites: The impact of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam and the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor on honey bees

Author Lars Straub
Director of thesis Director of Theis: Prof. Dr. Peter Neumann Co-Advisor(s): Dr. Geoff Williams Dr. Vincent Dietemann
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis The aim of this investigation is to better understand how neonicotinoid pesticides and V. destructor can influence the honey bee. Thiamethoxam will be used as our model neonicotinoid. It is described as being a relatively moderate toxic neonicotinoid (Blacquière et al., 2012) and is currently widely used within the agricultural practices in Europe (Journal, Unit, Francaise, & Sanitaire, 2008). I aim to characterize the impact of both thiamethoxam and V. destructor on individual worker and drone honey bees to thoroughly compare their effects. I aim to measure important indices of sub-lethal (i.e., mass and morphological clinical symptoms) and lethal (i.e. longevity) effects on honey bees. These parameters will be measured under simultaneous and time-lag exposure / parasitism scenarios; both conditions are representative of realistic situations encountered in the field. Later, laboratory work concentrating of viral titre determination and gene expression levels will be carried out to better understand the mechanisms behind possible interactions. Additionally, for the drone honey bees I aim to investigate the reproductive success rate and various further propagative parameters (i.e. sperm production, viability, quality).
Administrative delay for the defence
URL http://www.bees.unibe.ch/content/index_eng.html