Large-scale use of systemic pesticides has been considered a potential factor for pollinator population decline. Phytochemicals, e.g., quercetin, have been demonstrated to increase the pesticide tolerance of Apis mellifera Linnaeus (Hymenoptera: Apidae), which is helpful to develop strategies to reduce the pesticides hazards to pollinators. In this study, we hypothesized phytochemicals could reduce the detrimental effects of imidacloprid on Apis cerana Fabricius. The lethal and sublethal effects of imidacloprid on A. cerana workers were investigated. The results showed that A. cerana workers chronically exposed to 100 µg/liter imidacloprid had a significantly shorter longevity by 10.81 d compared with control. Acute exposure to imidacloprid at 100 µg/liter impaired the sucrose responsiveness and memory retention of the workers, and 20 µg/liter reduced the sucrose responsiveness. The treatment with 37.8 mg/liter quercetin for 24 h could increase the longevity of A. cerana workers when chronically exposed to 100 µg/liter imidacloprid, and 75.6 mg/liter quercetin feeding treatment alleviated the impairment of sucrose responsiveness. However, workers treated with 151.2 mg/liter and 75.6 mg/liter quercetin had a significantly shorter longevity compared to that of bees chronically exposed to 100 µg/liter imidacloprid without quercetin treatment. Our results suggested that quercetin treatment could produce a biphasic influence on the lethal effects of imidacloprid on A. cerana. Quercetin at 37.8 mg/liter and 75.6 mg/liter in the diet before pesticide exposure was able to reduce the lethal and sublethal effects of imidacloprid, respectively, providing potential strategies to reduce the pesticides hazards to native honey bees (A. cerana).
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Vol. 114 • No. 3