Organophosphorus insecticides in honey, pollen and bees (Apis mellifera L.) and their potential hazard to bee colonies in Egypt

There is no clear single factor to date that explains colony loss in bees, but one factor proposed is the wide-spread application of agrochemicals. Concentrations of 14 organophosphorous insecticides (OPs) in honey bees (Apis mellifera) and hive matrices (honey and pollen) were measured to assess their hazard to honey bees.  Samples were collected during spring and summer of 2013, from 5 provinces in the middle delta of Egypt.  LC/MS-MS was used to identify and quantify individual OPs by use of a modified Quick Easy Cheap Effective Rugged Safe (QuEChERS) method. Pesticides were detected more frequently in samples collected during summer. Pollen contained the greatest concentrations of OPs. Profenofos, chlorpyrifos, malation and diazinon were the most frequently detected OPs.  In contrast, ethoprop, phorate, coumaphos and chlorpyrifos-oxon were not detected. A toxic units approach, with lethality as the endpoint was used in an additive model to assess the cumulative potential for adverse effects posed by OPs.  Hazard quotients (HQs) in honey and pollen ranged from 0.01 - 0.05 during spring and from 0.02 - 0.08 during summer, respectively.  HQs based on lethality due to direct exposure of adult worker bees to OPs during spring and summer ranged from 0.04 to 0.1 for best and worst case respectively.  It is concluded that direct exposure and/or dietary exposure to OPs in honey and pollen pose little threat due to lethality of bees in Egypt.


Al Naggar, Y., Codling, G., Vogt, A., Naiem, E., Mona, M., Seif, A., & Giesy, J. P. (2015). Organophosphorus insecticides in honey, pollen and bees ( Apis mellifera L.) and their potential hazard to bee colonies in Egypt.Ecotoxicology and environmental safety114, 1-8.

Organophosphorus insecticidesinhoney,pollenandbees.pdf