Determination of Neonicotinoids and Butenolide residues in Avian and Insect pollinators and their ambient environment in western Canada


To examine the spatial, and temporal variation and potential sources of pesticide concentrations, primarily neonicotinoid insecticides, in hummingbirds in western Canada, we sampled their cloacal fluid from sites in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, Canada in 2017-2018. At a sub-sample of those sites, we also measured pesticides in honey bee (Apis mellifera) nectar, water, and sediment. We collected cloacal fluid from 5 species of hummingbirds (n = 26 sites) in British Columbia (BC) and Saskatchewan, Canada, and nectar from honey bee hives (n = 4 sites), water and sediment (n = 18 sites) in the Fraser Valley, BC. Among those, multiple types of samples were collected at 6 sites. We report the first measurement of flupyradifurone, a relatively new butenolide insecticide, in wildlife which was detected at 4.58 ng/mL in hummingbird cloacal fluid and 2.18 ng/g in honey bee nectar. We also detected three other neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, clothianidin, acetamiprid) and one metabolite desnitro-imidacloprid, and MGK264, a pesticide synergist, in our samples. Among 49 samples of cloacal fluid from rufous (Selasphorus rufus), Anna’s (Calypte anna), calliope (Selasphorus calliope) black-chinned (Archilocus alexandri) and ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilocus colubris), 26.5% (n = 13) contained neonicotinoids. Maximum pesticide concentrations in hummingbirds, water and sediment were found in samples collected in the Fraser Valley, BC within 0.5 km of conventionally sprayed blueberry fields (CSBF) but highest levels in honey bee nectar were detected at a site 1.5 km from a CSBF. Imidacloprid in honey bee nectar at one site exceeded concentrations (>1 ng/g) that can sublethally affect worker bee foraging efficiency. In water, imidacloprid concentrations at another site exceeded Canadian guidelines (230 ng/mL) for the protection of aquatic invertebrates.

Authors: Christine A Bishop, Million B Woundneh, France Maisonneuve, Julia Common, John E Elliott, Alison J Moran
; Full Source: The Science of the Total Environment. 2020 May 26;737:139386. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139386. Online ahead of print.