NEOPOLL: Effects of Neonicotinoids and Temperature on Crop Pollination

About the project

This project will investigate sub-lethal effects of Current Use Pesticides (CUPs) (i.e. the neonicotinoid clothianidin) on important pollinators, namely bumblebees. There is a limited number of studies quantifying the effects of neonicotinoids, in particular in field realistic settings. Both climatic conditions and pesticides have been shown to negatively affect bumblebees, but the additive effect of these drivers have never been studied. We will use three different approaches to assess how clothianidin and temperature may affect bumblebees and the ecosystem service they provide. First, we will use laboratory experiments to monitor individual learning, search behaviour and flower handling under different pesticide exposure levels. These experiments will be conducted under different climate conditions (temperatures) to see whether the negative effects of the pesticide changes with temperature. Second, we will use a semi-field experiment focusing on population dynamics (individual survival and colony development). The bumblebees will be chronically exposed to different pesticide doses while allowed to forage outdoors in natural vegetation. The number of larvae and workers produced and amount of resources gathered (nectar and pollen), will be monitored to quantify negative effects on colony development. Third, we will use another semi-field experiment to understand how exposure to clothianidin through plants grown from treated seeds affect bumblebee foraging (number of visits per flower). Crop yield (fruit- and seed set and seed quality (weight)) will also be assessed to quantify the indirect effects of clothianidin on pollination. Finally, we will develop laboratory procedures for analyzing clothianidin exposure from nectar and pollen and pesticide accumulation in bumblebee honey, larvae and workers.


This project is funded by The Research Council of Norway.


April 2017 - May 2022.

Published June 18, 2018 12:23 PM - Last modified Feb. 2, 2021 10:16 AM